Police in the Bronx are searching for a pair of burglars who have been posing as Consolidated Edison workers to gain access to the homes of elderly residents.
Investigators say the men tell their victims they need to get into their homes to check the water level or water quality.
The men have burglarized five homes since December 19 – across an area that stretches from Pelham Bay all the way to Riverdale, with the most recent incident happening on Baychester Avenue on February 7.
“One of them talks to the senior and engages in conversation, while the other basically ransacks the house and goes through his or her valuables,” said Bronx Councilman James Vacca.
The victims are all said to be between the ages of 69 and 93.
“I think it’s absolutely horrible what they’re doing,” said a Bronx resident. “I mean, they’re preying on these older folks. I mean, they would let them in, they’re innocent. When they’re caught, they should be put behind bars.”
Map of the burglaries. Click to enlarge. “That’s disgusting. That’s really disgusting. I’m ashamed of them. That’s horrible,” said another. “You don’t do that to elderly people. That’s disgusting.”
“It is a shame. You have to educate these homeowners, that they ask for IDs or in doubt, call the police. They are always trying to scam the elderly,” said a third.
Police have released the above sketch of one of the suspects, along with drawings of items taken from the home on Baychester Avenue.
That suspect is described as being 35 to 40 years old, and about 5-feet-10-inches tall.
The other suspect has a similar age and height.
Con Ed is aware of the scam, and the utility says it does have a contract with the Department of Environmental Protection to check water meters in some areas, but says its workers wear uniforms and have photo identification. The utility bill will also have the date when customers can expect a water meter reading.
In a statement, Con Ed officials said, “Our field employees receive training in the proper ways to display and present their identification cards while working with customers.”
To verify a worker’s ID card, call 1-800-75-CONED. Workers without a valid ID should not enter one’s home.
Anyone with information on the Bronx thieves is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP577 to CRIMES, or by going to NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.