SFPD Says Fake Public Utility Workers Are Scamming Residents

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San Francisco police are warning residents of a scam where faux public utility workers are duping folks into letting them inside their homes and then robbing them.

According to police, the first incident occurred Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. on the 1400 block of Jackson Street. The suspect claimed to be a Water Department employee and said he was there to "check the faucets." The 82-year-old victim let him inside and left him alone in the bathroom for at least two minutes.

The victim later saw the suspect coming from a back bedroom. When the "worker" approached the victim, he appeared nervous and spoke into a walkie-talkie radio. He then accompanied the victim to the garage where they spoke for a few minutes before the suspect left.

The victim called the Water Department, which informed him that there was no water problem in the neighborhood. The victim later found money and other valuables had been taken from him, police said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male between 30 and 40 years old, 6-foot-3, and weighing about 250 pounds. He was last seen wearing an orange safety vest and dark pants.

The second case occurred later that morning on the 100 block of Southwood Drive. In this incident the suspect told the victim that a nearby water main had broken and he needed to test the water for possible contamination, said Sgt. Michael Andraychak. The victim, a 52-year-old female, let the suspect into her house, and the "worker" went into various rooms, including the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. He also spoke into a walkie-talkie radio in an unidentified language before leaving the residence.

The victim did not notice anything taken, police said. The victim described the suspect as a 5-foot-7 white male, in his 50s and about 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap, a brightly colored safety vest, a dark shirt, and dark pants.

Don't let this happen to you. Police are warning residents not to let strangers into their home without asking for proper ID -- all utility workers carry them. If you feel something is wrong, call the utility department:

San Francisco Water Department: 551-3000
Pacific Gas and Electric: 1-800-PGE-5000

If you have any information about these crimes, call the SFPD at 553-1521.

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