Three con artists made a convincing case to enter the homes of three senior citizens in Amherst, Clarence and Cheektowaga earlier this week to commit burglaries.
All three were dressed in jackets with emblems that said “Water Authority” and presented what appeared to be identification badges to back up their claim that they were indeed employees who had come to check on the faucets. They had even pulled up in an official looking blue SUV.
But once the three men talked their way into the elderly woman’s home in Amherst’s North Forest-Klein neighborhood during the noon hour Thursday, they went to work on their true intention – to steal whatever they could get their hands on, according to Amherst Detective Lt. Rick Walter.
“While one of them kept her distracted by asking her where all the faucets were in the house, the other two went about the house and one entered into her bedroom and stole approximately $1,000 worth of jewelry,” said Walter, in issuing a warning Friday for senior citizens to be on the alert for these phony water authority workers.
Not long after the Amherst burglary, the same type of scam was pulled on an elderly couple in Clarence sometime after 1 p.m. The final burglary happened at about 4:45 p.m. in Cheektowaga.
Cheektowaga Detective Lt. Tom Wentland said the burglaries appear to be related and involve men of similar description.
“If anyone comes to a home claiming to be water authority workers, do not let them in your house until you verify the fact that they truly are water authority employees,” Walter said, adding that he and the investigators from the other agencies are working together “to hopefully develop information on the suspects.”
The water authority issued an advisory pointing out that meter service workers travel in blue and white vehicles with a water authority decal on both sides, wear a blue uniform with an authority emblem and carry a photo identification badge.
Authority officials urge all customers to confirm those three visible forms of identification from anyone claiming they are at the premises to read or perform work on the water meter.
Anyone who might have spotted the fake water authority workers is asked to call Amherst detectives at 689-1342, Cheektowaga detectives at 686-3505 and in Clarence, state police at 759-6831.