Police Looking For Utility Scam Artists


Police say a man with a hard hat and reflective vest claiming he worked for the water company distracted an elderly Bethesda resident last week as his partner stole jewelry from her house. The incident, which happened before 11:50 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 26 in the 5200 block of Alta Vista Road, is very similar to a reported incident about 15 minutes earlier in Chevy Chase. At about 11:35 a.m., police say officers responded to an 87-year-old woman in the 5300 block of Sherrill Avenue who said a man with tan pants and a hard hat knocked on her door and claimed he worked for the Bethesda Water Company. He told her he needed to check her water pressure because of a water main break, police said Tuesday in a press release. Police said a neighbor arrived at that point to check on the victim. The man again said he worked for the Betehsda Water Company before leaving the property in a gray Saturn, police said. He did not enter the home. Police later received the call from Alta Vista Road, where they say an 86-year-old woman heard a knock on the door and opened it to find a man with blue jeans, a reflective vest and a hard hat. He said he worked for the water company and that he had to check the water pressure in the basement because of a water main break. When the victim was with the man in the basement, police said she heard footsteps upstairs. After questioning the man about the footsteps, he quickly left the home, police said. She went upstairs and found jewelry missing from her bedroom. Police did not say whether they think the same man posed as the utility worker at both homes. They did warn residents to ask for proper identification from any utility workers asking to enter their homes in the aftermath of Sandy. Police are asking anyone with information about the incidents or the suspects involved to contact detectives at 301-657-0112.

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