Fake PGW workers rob Philadelphia couple

March 4, 2013 2:54:53 PM PST
A Philadelphia couple is recovering after they were targeted by a pair of thieves posing as utility workers.

It happened February 23rd in the 1300 block of North 2nd Street in Kensington.

The victims let a man into their home thinking he was an employee of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). They ended up losing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

Philadelphia Police East Detectives released video of a neatly dressed man wearing a black baseball cap who posed as a utility worker. Nine days ago he knocked on a nearby door informing a homeowner he was from PGW.

"He said, 'Your house smells of gas,'" she told Action News.

We are not revealing the victims' identities. The man convinced the woman and husband to go to the basement while a second man slipped in, went upstairs, grabbed a pillow case and the familes valuables.

Surveillance video picks him up exiting with that pillowcase.

The victims' godson explains how the theft was discovered.

"She opens the one drawer where she keeps the jewelry and notices everything is missing," said Ari Lolosidis.

Everything, the woman explained, from an anniversary ring to sentimental items from her mother. The estimated value: $15,000 or more.

"I can't explain in words," said Lolosidis. "She's very, very upset."

Captain Mark Burgmann of East Detectives hopes people recognize the thieves, or the dark two door ford Focus seen on the surveillance video clips.

As for the scam, Burgmann said it is an old one.

"There are always different schemes," he said. "Whether they say they're going to survey your land, or whether it's a gas leak or they're going to check the electric or a roof. You name it. It's a different scam all the time."

The rule of thumb, police say, is to be suspicious of any stranger claiming to be from a utility, or a delivery person, or a tradesman who shows up uninvited.

Don't let them in until you see an ID. And if still you are still suspicious, call the company they claim to work for, or 911.