North Side home invasion prompts police warning about fake utility workers

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Pittsburgh police are warning residents, especially seniors, of people posing as utility workers to gain entry to homes and steal valuables.

An East Allegheny couple reported such a robbery Thursday, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said Monday. Police responded to the home on the 1000 block of Chestnut Street around 5:30 p.m.

A man who identified himself as a water company worker knocked on the back door and told the homeowners that gas was mixing with their water and the workers needed immediate access to the home, Ms. Richard said.

Several men entered the home and asked the couple to wait in the living room as they went into the basement and other rooms in the home. The homeowner became suspicious and when she went to call the police, the man who had knocked at the door grabbed the phone from her and all of the men exited the home, she said.

When police arrived, the woman searched the home and found that several pieces of jewelry were missing, drawers were open and items displaced, Ms. Richard said.

Police said the woman described the men as Hispanic and said the man who knocked on the door and grabbed the phone was about 30 years old, with a medium complexion, 6 feet tall and 170 pounds with scruffy facial hair and short, dark hair. He wore an orange work vest and white hard hat.

Residents who did not request service should call the utility company in question, Ms. Richard said, adding that "utility company employees should have proper credentials displayed in plain view that announces their company along with a photo ID."

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Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.


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