PRESS RELEASE / COMMUNITY ALERT
CITY of SAN MATEO POLICE DEPARTMENT
200 Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94403
SMPD INVESTIGATING CONTRACTOR / UTILITY EMPLOYEE
BURGLARY SCAM – WHAT TO LOOK FOR + SAFETY TIPS
Residents of at least 3 San Mateo homes were victimized by a common scam resulting in entry to their premises by strangers, and subsequent thefts or attempted thefts of valuables. All of these incidents occurred in the afternoon hours on Saturday, April 2nd. One of the incidents occurred in the unit block of Baywood Ave., one in the 1500 block of Edinburgh St., and another in the 3200 block of Glendora Dr.
In each of these cases one of the suspects makes contact with one of the residents either at the front door, or in the back yard. In two of these incidences, the victims were engaged at their front door by the suspect/suspects. In the third incident, the victim was contacted in his back yard by one of the suspects, and never saw the second one. The contact suspect distracts the victim through conversation or through a demonstration of their “services.” During this time, a second suspect enters other areas of the victim’s home and searches for and takes valuables.
In two of these cases, the suspects posed as laborers (painters, gardeners). They engaged the victim in conversation about work they had done in the area while an accomplice went to look for valuables in the house.
In the third instance (Glendora) the suspects posed as PG&E employees investigating an alleged gas leak. One of the suspects sprayed water on the stove allegedly looking for leaks. A second suspect explored the house, looking for valuables.
SMPD Officers and Detectives are examining these cases for additional similarities, and also looking at other cases which may potentially be related.
• Follow your instinct. If you feel something is not right with the situation, contact SMPD right away. Keep a phone with you or close-by, and contact SMPD by “911” or by 650-522-7700 if you have any problem with solicitors that makes you suspicious or uncomforatable.
• Remember, you have no obligation to open your front door to solicitors. Those who may be looking to conduct criminal activity may also prey on empty homes when nobody answers the door, so a firm verbal response from behind your door that you see them out there but you are not interested should make them leave. If it doesn’t, call the police.
• Be cautious of any person(s) soliciting to do construction work. You can always ask to see their contractor’s license. You can verify a contractor’s license by contacting the Contractor State License Board at 1-800-321-CSLB or www.cslb.ca.gov
• As a general rule, do not provide personal information or payment to anyone unless you initiate the contact!
• Be cautious of anyone who contacts you first, tells you that you need to make repairs immediately, talks too fast, tells you that they are doing work in neighborhood and have “extra materials.”
• Beware of other common scams including car repairs, dent and scratch removal, tree trimming, and other services.
The following information comes directly from the PG&E Website about their workers. Most of these tips would also work for people representing themselves as any type of utility workers:
“This is a common scam when criminals pose as utility workers, gain entry into a household, and rip-off unsuspecting customers. PG&E offers the following tips to protect our customers:
• Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are always willing to show it to you.
• Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or they will receive a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.
• Customers are encouraged to call PG&E’s customer service line at 1-800-PGE-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E’s presence in the community.”
SMPD Detectives continue to work diligently to bring the responsible parties to justice in these cases. Anyone with information regarding this scam is asked to contact San Mateo Police Department:
If you are the victim of a similar scam, or have received a call that you believe might be one of these scams, please report these crimes to San Mateo PD at 650-522-7700
As always, if you need emergency assistance, please dial 911.
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Please help us make your neighborhood safer and take a stand against crime. Please report all criminal behavior, join a neighborhood watch program, and help anyone that might fall victim to a crime. If a Neighborhood Watch doesn’t exist on your block, you can start one with help from SMPD. For additional information about the City of San Mateo Neighborhood Watch Program, call Sergeant Dave Norris at (650)522-7626 or visit our web www.cityofsanmateo.org
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