If you live in South Philly, don’t let in anyone asking to check your house for faulty outlets. Or at least not without checking their ID badge first.
That’s what police are telling residents after officers received three reports of suspects impersonating utility workers to gain access to victims’ homes.
A man knocked on a door at a home on the 1800 block of South 15th Street April 5 at 1 p.m. wearing a dark blue uniform and claimed he was a PECO worker looking for faulty outlets, police said. He was allowed inside, but left without incident.
An hour later, a man and woman identified themselves as city workers to a homeowner on the 300 block of Ritner Street and said they needed to check the property for faulty outlets. Once inside, they stole $1,000 in cash.
Two days later, a different man, also wearing a dark blue uniform, showed up at the same 15th Street home claiming he was there to fix the faulty outlets his coworker previously found. The victim let him inside, but later noticed jewelry and checks missing from a bedroom.
The suspect from the first incident is described as a 5-foot-5 inch black man between 30 and 40 years of age with a thin build and short hair. He carried a maroon folder or book with PECO on the cover.
The man who returned to the same home two days later is described as a 6-foot to 6-foot-2 inch black man between 30 and 40 years of age with a thin build.
The suspects from the male-female team are described as a 5-foot-7 inch black man, aged 50, and a 5-foot-2 inch, 120-pound white woman, also aged 50. Both were wearing black hoodies and black pants.
Police are asking citizens to check the identification of all workers who claim to be from a utility company. They say PECO workers are required to carry a photo ID badge with the PECO logo and wear a navy blue or orange shirt, also bearing the PECO logo.
If a homeowner is still uneasy about allowing a worker in, they are encouraged to call the utility company directly at the appropriate number below:
PECO – 1-800-494-4000
PGW – 215-235-1000
Water Department – 215-685-6300
Verizon – 1-800-837-4966
Comcast – 1-800-266-227