EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 13, 2013

Home safe reported stolen after bogus inspection

Police seek man who allegedly posed as Water Department worker

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — LAWRENCE — Police are investigating the theft of a 150-pound safe from a Haverhill Street home possibly involving a man who was posing a city Water Department worker.

An 89-year-old resident said a man recently came to his home, claiming to be a Water Department worker and asking if he could check the water pressure “upstairs” in his home. The elderly man allowed this person in the house and left an exterior door open while they went upstairs, he told Officer Harold Rogers.

The victim believes while he was upstairs with the bogus Water worker a second person came in his house and stole the safe from his basement workshop, Rogers wrote.

Inside the safe was several coin collections and the man’s military discharge paperwork. Rogers found drag marks across the basement floor where the safe had been. A door jam was broken “as if someone had shouldered the door forcing it open,” he wrote.

John Isensee, the city’s public works director, who oversees the Water Department, said workers do not randomly come to homes in the city. “We make appointments with people. We don’t just show up,” Isensee said.

Isensee, along with Police Chief John Romero, stressed residents should call police immediately if a utility worker shows up at their home without an appointment.

“If you didn’t request service, you need to be leery,” Romero said. “Call us and we’ll check their ID.”

Isensee echoed similar sentiments. “If you are unsure about anybody who comes to your door you need to make a phone call,” he said.

With spring approaching, Romero said police often see an uptick in these kinds of crimes. He urged residents and businesspeople to report any and all suspicious activity to police.

“It’s always better to be safe. If it turns out not to be anything, it’s not a big deal,” he said.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.