EXCLUSIVE: Woman robbed by imposters

BUSTLETON - December 16, 2011

The fake city worker looked official, with a vest, work gloves and a hard hat.

It always seems the thieves are at their worst around the holidays and an 82-year-old woman in Bustleston learned that firsthand Friday afternoon.

"They're the scum of the earth, they don't have no respect for nobody," she told Action News.

The woman says a man claiming to be an employee with the Philadelphia Water Department came to her home on the 2200 block of Bowler Street. He said he needed to check her house for water contamination.

"He said, 'I have to open up your spigots and check all the water.' So like a dope, I let him in," she said.

The man kept the homeowner busy in the basement while his partner in crime cleaned house, stealing $300 out of the woman's purse and all her jewelry, gifts from her late husband.

The woman realized she was the victim of scam artists hours after the fake city worker was gone.

"What went through my mind?" she asked. "I was petrified."

"She's a very nice lady, she doesn't deserve that, she does not," said the woman's neighbor, John Stancati.

Stancati was sickened to hear about what happened. Action News has learned that before the incident, police investigated a similar crime in this same area.

"I would blow his brains out, that's all," said Stancati. "I've got a .357 and I'm going to use it."

The elderly victim says she learned a tough lesson.

"Like I said to the detective, I guess I'm lucky I got my life because you never know what they could do to you," she said.

The Water Department says residents should check for a worker's city ID, uniform and marked vehicle to make sure they're legitimate. If there are ever any concerns, they say to give the department or police a call.

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