St. Pete PD: Beware of fake city workers - WFLA News Channel 8

St. Pete PD: Beware of fake city workers wanting to enter your home

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The St. Petersburg Police Department is warning homeowners especially the elderly to be aware of a scam that they have been investigating since the beginning of March. 

Here's what you need to know:

Police say they have received reports from elderly residents about two men claiming to be from the City's Water Department who need to check hot water pipes inside the resident's home.  Once inside, police say, the men split up, one going to the kitchen and the other going to a bathroom.

In one such case, witnesses reported that the impersonators were of Hispanic decent with accents.  One person is described to be in his early 30's, 5'8" tall, weighing 195 lbs and wearing a ball cap with "Gallaway" written on it.  Police say the other man is described to be in his 40's, 6'2" tall, weighing 200 lbs with dark hair and a "rough-looking face."  Police say neither of the men were wearing any type of uniform or had identification cards.  Witnesses say both men were seen leaving in a white Mercedes SUV without markings.

Here's what may be happening:

Detectives believe that this may be part of a pattern of similar scams by which the suspects identify themselves as city employees claiming they need access to a home to check some sort of alleged problem.

Although nothing was discovered missing in these two recent cases, Police believe that this activity may be part of a scam where typically  one man will keep the resident distracted while the other rummages through the home looking for valuables to steal. The elderly are most frequently targeted.

Here's what to look out for if someone comes to your door claiming to need access to your home:

Typically municipal workers are in uniform, display proper identification and operate vehicles that are clearly marked. Furthermore municipal employees generally work on public roads and right of ways and normally do not require entry into private homes.

Here's what you can do:

Detectives would like to urge citizens to be on the alert for such scams and contact their local law enforcement agency should they encounter or become aware of any activity of this nature.  In the St. Pete area, residents can call the St. Pete police department at (727) 893-7780.

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