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Water Department Impersonator Targeting The Elderly

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An 98-year-old woman who was scammed and robbed is talking only to Eyewitness News.

She says a man posing as a Philadelphia Water Department worker robbed her of her jewelry and her sense of security.

“I was taken by the way. I was taken. He robbed me. He robbed me. He cleaned me out of all of my jewelry.”

The 98-year-old woman, who we are not identifying, shared her story hoping to warn others and prevent others from feeling her pain.

“He rang my bell and said he came from the water department,” she said.

It’s a ruse all too familiar to Philadelphia Police.

Lt. John Walker explained, “We are very concerned. We obviously have someone targeting the elderly.”

According to police, since last October, nine elderly victims — several in the Northeast and others in Southwest Philadelphia — have been robbed by a man posing as a worker for the city water department.

Police recently issued a composite sketch, but so far, no arrest.

Police believe at least the two latest incidents are connected.

Walker said, “Person similarly described knocks on the door, he’s led in.”

The victim from last Thursday was 99-years-old. Police say she was told to stay in her bathroom.

The next day, the 98-year-old victim was told to stay in her basement when she eventually asked the scammer for an ID.

“Suddenly, I was suspicious of him. He said, ‘I will be right back, I don’t have it.’ I said, ‘How come you don’t have it?’ He went out. He said he was going to his truck to bring back the confirmation from the Water Department. Fifteen minutes, I came upstairs, came outside, he was gone,” she explained.

Walker added, “The Water Department has assured us that all their employees wear the Philadelphia Water Department uniform, they will present ID at the door and people need to ask for identification if they don’t feel comfortable.”

Police say when in doubt, call 911 to verify.

In the meantime, anyone with information about these robberies is asked to call the police.

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