Police warn residents of utility worker scam

 

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a scam in which a man poses as an employee of a utility company, distracting elderly women while an accomplice burglarizes their homes.

There have been at least three cases locally since Jan. 27, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

About noon Jan. 27, two white men in a white pickup came to the home of an 84-year-old woman. Later in the day, one of the men returned to the woman’s home and stated that he worked for Jenkins Construction, which he said was laying pipe in the area, and needed the woman to sign some paperwork.

The woman, who had grown suspicious of the men after her first encounter with them, told the man she had called police and asked them to leave, Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.

About 4 p.m. Sunday, police say a white man between the ages of 35 and 40 driving a late-model burgundy Ford pickup came to the home of a 72-year-old woman, pretending to be a Georgia Power employee.

The woman told police she and the man stood outside for about 30 minutes discussing the placement of an underground power line. When she re-entered her home, the woman discovered that someone had stolen jewelry and money from her bedroom.

About 5:30 p.m. Sunday, a white man posing as a water utilities worker knocked on the door of an 86-year-old woman.

The man led the woman to her backyard, where he talked about identifying water lines. When he left, the woman found she was missing several pieces of jewelry.

Authorities are cautioning residents to know whom they’re dealing with before opening their doors. According to the statement, several businesses offer information on their Web sites that outline company policies, procedures and uniform requirements.

IF YOU SUSPECT A PROBLEM

• Don’t allow a person you don’t know inside your home.

• Call the company they claim to work for and verify their identification.

• Don’t leave the house if the person asks you to come outside.

• Call the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 821-1080.

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