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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Police to Parkside Residents: Don't Open Your Door to Fake Utility Workers

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 1:08 PM

click to enlarge These guys are real - MICHAEL BARBA
  • Michael Barba
  • These guys are real
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and police are warning elderly residents and the Parkside community in general to watch out for those fake city workers who are burglarizing homes — again

On Thursday afternoon the cops and public works staff held a joint press conference, alerting residents to these "unsavory characters" who have been posing as water department employees to gain access to homes. 

The latest incident occurred on Dec. 18 when three crooks wearing orange vests (but no official IDs) convinced an elderly person to let them in the resident's home on the 1700 block of 19th Avenue by posing as utility workers.
The faux city workers were caught on video as they robbed the resident of a considerable amount of valuables and cash, says Police Captain Teri Barrett. The video will be available once the investigation is closed.

This is not the first incident where a criminal posed as a utility worker in San Francisco. Notably, an alleged Satanist was sentenced for beating a Russian Hill woman to death after he got inside her home by posing as a utility worker.

To be clear, Steve Ritchie, SFPUC assistant general manager, reiterated the protocol for employees who work the city's Public Works Department. "They do home audits of people's water use, but they only would come in if they're invited in as the result of an appointment," he says. "Most of the water and sewer projects and virtually all the work takes place in the street or in the sidewalk."

Also, city utility workers will always wear proper identification when in the field, according to Ritchie. You can identify them easily by their standard issued white vehicles with a San Francisco seal and number on the side or larger white trucks with a green stripe and city seal.

"We're here to help. Look for ID's, look for vehicles," said Ritchie. "If you don't see those things and somebody claims to be part of the Water Department or the Public Utilities Commission, they're not."

Police are encouraging residents to call 911 if you think a burglary is in progress. And please, check the badges and use common sense if you have any doubt as to a worker's legitimacy.

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