PELHAM BAY, THE BRONX (PIX 11)—Two men say they're inspectors with the Water Department in order to get into homes to check water levels and water quality. Once they get inside, it turns out they're checking out something entirely different than water levels. Jewelry and other valuables disappear.
The NYPD is sending out a warning about a pair of scammers striking every two or three weeks in the Bronx. Detectives say two 35 to 40 year olds take items like rings and other jewelry and valuables after getting into homes. They knock on the door, saying they're Water Department employees. They are neither inspectors, nor employees of the Water Department.
In fact, there is no such thing as a New York City Water Department. The city agency responsible for household water issues is the Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, which checks most water meter readings remotely, through radio transmitting automated readers installed on most homes. Rarely does a person even need to show up at a home for city water-related issues.
In the scam, the pair of men struck five times between December 19th and February 7th. Each scam visit has been in the Bronx, and all of the victims are elderly, according to police.
The men struck around 3 p.m. on December 19, 2010 on Willow Lane. They struck again on January 3, 2011 on Neill Avenue, around 4:30 p.m. They also struck around 1 p.m. on January 18th on Irwin Ave. They scammed someone on February 3rd on Ohm Avenue around 2:20 p.m.. They last struck on February 7th around 1:10 p.m. on Baychester Avenue.
The NYPD released the above sketch of one of the two suspects, along with sketches of two rings the scammers stole in the latest incident.
Anybody with information about this case can call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline without identifying themselves. The number is 1-800-577-TIPS, or 1-800-577-8477. Tips can also be texted to Crime Stoppers at 274637 (CRIMES). Enter TIP577.