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Beware of Bogus Utility Workers, Police Say

South Pasadena Police are warning residents about "distraction burglaries,'' where suspects posing at Southern California Edison workers have duped neighboring communities.

Neighboring cities have seen a number of residential burglaries where the suspects posed as Southern California Edison workers, according to a South Pasadena Police crime bulletin.

The first suspect distracted a resident to the rear yard, explaining some type of work that has to be done. Meanwhile, a second suspect entered the home and stole valuables.

"Suspect one will say they will return later to do the work and that is the last you see of the suspect and your valuables,'' the bulletin states. 

The burglary warning comes at the same time the city alerted residents that they will see meter readers from Global Water, the utility that will take over city water, sewer and refuse billing in January, traipsing through their yards. However, those meter readers can be identified by their T-shirts with a Global water logo, reflective vests and temporary contract badges. 

Police say distraction burglaries have been around for some time and suspects may pose as city workers, water or electrical employees, tree trimmers, contractors, etc. They'll use any excuse to get you out of the house and to the rear yard. Other times, authorities said, they will keep you in one area of the house as the other suspects go to your bedroom. 

Regardless of what the suspect may pose as, be sure you follow these important safety tips: 

·         Never open your door to strangers!

·         Always ask for work identification, if they cannot show you one, lock the door and call the police.

·         Unless it is an emergency, or you initiated the call, utility and city workers will not knock on your door.  City services ends at the meters. 

·         If someone asks for you to go the backyard to explain any proposed work, keep them outside, lock the door and call their employer to confirm it.  If it is a utility worker, call the phone number listed on your utility bill. 

·         You may not see the second suspect hiding outside, so never leave your door unlock to meet any worker outside your house. 

·         Warn your neighbors should someone go door-to-door and acting suspiciously.  Especially if your neighbors are elderly, scammers love to prey on the elderly. 

·         Call the police on any suspicious activity. 

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David Carrington November 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Burglaries are on the rise and so people must take action to lower the chances of it happening to them. Three of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your property is to reinforce your doors and windows. 85% of burglars come through a door, so first off you should reinforce your entry doors with a door security device such as the Door Security Pro ( http://www.DoorSecurityPro.com ). 15% of burglars come through a window. I would highly suggest adding security window film to your windows. And finally, you need to get some type of personal protection device in case you are ever confronted by a burglar. Pepper spray is a good choice because it's easy to use and it's highly effective.

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