Police : Criminals Using Cold Weather To Rip Off Water Customers - New York News

Police : Criminals Using Cold Weather To Rip Off Water Customers

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UPPER MERION TOWNSHIP, Pa. -

Police say criminals are using the cold weather as a way to make a buck. They say scammers are pretending to be from the water company to check your pipes...then they rip you off!

FOX 29's Drew Dickman has the ways to protect yourself.

Police said criminal are using the cold weather as a way to make a buck.

They say scammers are pretending to be from the water company to check your pipes, then they rip you off.

"It's rotten!," said Jack Guziewicz

Neighbors are outraged after hearing that police in Upper Merion say three men ripped off a family Friday on the 300 block of Jefferson Street.

"I'm worried about it, sure. I'm not going to say I'm not going to let it happen to me. I could be duped by anybody," Guziewicz said.

The victim told FOX 29 News that a man approached her husband and told him they had a water meter problem.

While they went down to the basement to look at the pipes, she said a second man approached her and said they needed to check the water upstairs first.

The victim said that man then radioed the other guy, saying it was clear.

They left telling her to turn the water on and off five times.

In the meantime, police say a third man snatched jewelry and cash from the home, something the victims didn't realize until hours later.

"The best thing is just to be very vigilant. If someone shows up at your door step and claims to be from the water or any utility company look for several things," Terry Maenza with Pennsylvania American Water said.

He says their employees always wear a uniform, drive a company vehicle and wear a badge.

The victim says the crooks wore lanyards, but she doesn't know what they said.

A neighbor on the same block says he had some men approach him about his water meter a couple weeks ago, but his parents weren't home.

"I'm glad I did not let them in and I'm glad my parents weren't home, because if they were, they might have came in," Shad Boccella said.

Maenza says the con artists typically strike in the middle of the day, and go after the elderly.

"It can happen anywhere in cities, suburban areas, rural communities it doesn't matter. They find victims wherever they can," he said.

Pennsylvania American Water says these cases are sometimes difficult to prosecute because the suspects often skip town.

Anyone with information about the case can contact the Upper Merion Police Department.

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