By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Authorities are searching for a pair of men who police say robbed an elderly woman while posing as Philadelphia water employees in the city’s Rhawnhurst neighborhood.

It happened Monday afternoon when police say two men knocked on the door of an 82-year-old woman living along Roosevelt Boulevard near Hartley Avenue.

“They represented themselves verbally as being employees of the water department and said they had to inspect her sink,” said Captain Sekou Kinebrew, with the Philadelphia Police Department.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, tells Eyewitness News that the suspects forced their way inside.

“I’m in shock they came in my house, they overpowered me,” said the woman.

It was more than five minutes for this victim who just let two criminals, looking for a quick buck, inside her home. The victim says one distracted her by the sink while the other ransacked the place looking for valuables. He found thousands in cash and the two took off.

“He messed up the table. Everything is messed up in my house,” she said.

Her story is a common tale, unfortunately, according to Philadelphia Police.

“We’re very concerned and we want to get these guys off the street,” Kinebrew said.

Kinebrew says it’s a reminder to people to call 9-1-1 if they are not expecting utility workers at their door as part of the “Be Sure Before you Open the Door” safety campaign.

“People should just go and call 9-1-1, because then we can call them with 100 percent authenticity that we are talking to the actual utility company and then they can let us know whether or not someone came to the block,” he said.

The victim, in this case, says she’s nervous and frightened for the first time since 1966, the year she moved in her home.

She has a simple message for others: “Just don’t answer!”


Credit: Kristen Johanson