If someone wants to come into your house or on your property to check your meter, water lines or anything else, then make sure they have proper ID.
That’s the message being send by the East Brunswick Police Department after three men posing as “water department workers” distracted a husband and wife in order to rob their home last week.
Police are looking for three men who stole a resident’s jewelry while posing as “water department employees” at 9:20 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. According to police, a man approached an Ainsworth Avenue homeowner who was working in his garage. The suspect told the homeowner that they were a water department employee and needed to follow him into his backyard to check the water flow, according to police. While they were in the backyard a second suspect, also posing as a water department employee, spoke to a second resident who was inside the house. The suspect convinced this resident to go into the basement so they could check on the water pipes, according to police. Wen the suspects left, the residents discovered that a third person had entered the home and stole jewelry.
While many residents let people who are from utility companies in to their homes, the police department says that if anyone comes to your door from a utility company and requests entry into your house it could be an imposter intent upon committing a crime. Always ask for identification before letting someone in to your home.
Here’s how the scams work, according to the police. Suspects posing as legitimate workers approach elderly homeowners at their residence with the intent of gaining entry under a seemingly legitimate role: local gas company, water department, cable company, tree trimmers, pavers, county inspectors, or government officials. One suspect will distract the homeowner while a second suspect enters the home and searches inside for valuables and cash.
Another type of ruse used to gain entry into the home is for a suspect to knock on the door and ask for a pen and piece of paper to leave the victim's neighbor a note. The suspect may appear to have difficulty writing the note, and will ask to come inside the house. Once inside the victim's house, the suspect will ask the victim to help write the note. As the suspect keeps the victim occupied, others enter the residence to remove money and valuables.
While these intruders may seem trustworthy, many are not, and precautions should be taken. If you find yourself in a similar situation, or unsure of who you are dealing with, do not let them in and call the police.
1. Ask for ID.
Water department employees will carry township identification that has their photo and job title on it. The identification card will also contain the township’s seal. Other utility company employees should also carry official company identification on them. When in doubt contact the utility company to verify the service prior to allowing entry.
2. Check the service person’s vehicle.
Township water department employees will operate a township vehicle with the township’s seal on the door. Be mindful that water department employees may park their township vehicle at the beginning of the street to conduct their route. Other utility companies normally have the company’s logo clearly displayed on the vehicle.
3. If you’re suspicious, keep your door locked.
If the person cannot show you township or utility company ID or if you have any doubts do not let that person into your home. Close and lock your door, and contact the utility company in question or the police department.
The township’s revenue office can be contacted at 732-390-6824 to verify a water department employee.
Remember, do not intervene, but call 911 immediately about suspicious activity.