Phony Utility Worker Burglarizes Two Homes

Suspects claiming to be utility workers burglarized two homes in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, according to police.

The suspects claimed to be workers from PG&E in one case and with the city’s water department in the other and are the latest in a rash of home invasions and burglaries that prompted the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to issue a warning last month.

Monday’s first burglary happened at about 2:40 p.m. when three men came to a home in the 2300 block of Bryant Street in the city’s Mission District claiming to be from the water department.

The victim, a 62-year-old woman, was convinced to remain outside of the home with one suspect while the other two went in, telling her they were checking pipes, police said.

The suspects took her car keys and two handguns and ran from the home.

In the second burglary, three suspects went to a home in the 2000 block of Carroll Avenue in the city’s Silver Terrace neighborhood at about 4 p.m.

They met a 15-year-old boy at the home’s front door and told him they were from PG&E. They purposefully broke the water heater and then told the boy to stand next to it while they went upstairs and stole money from a bedroom, police said.

The burglars in both cases were men between the ages of 30 and 45. Police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan said today investigators are looking into each incident separately but have not ruled out the possibility that the same suspects committed both burglaries.

The SFPUC and police warned city residents last month not to allow anyone claiming to be with the water department or other utilities into their homes unless they schedule a prior appointment.

SFPUC workers wear distinctive vests with a city seal and drive cars with a city seal as well. Almost all of the work they do is done on the street and there is rarely any reason for them to enter homes, utility officials said.

If anyone suspicious stops by a home claiming to be utility workers, residents are advised to call the utility they claim to represent to check in and to call police.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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