Officials warn residents of south St. Louis City impostor - KMOV.com

Officials warn residents of south St. Louis City impostor

SAINT LOUIS (KMOV) -- Police are looking for scam artists who are pretending to be city employees in order to gain access into your homes.

Police say it's a crime that's happening all over the country, and it's not the first time for St. Louis.  The imposters, police say, often target neighborhoods with senior citizens.  The Hill and Dogtown neighborhoods were the targets this time and once before.  The two cases reported on Monday mirror each other, and police are now looking for a white man and his accomplices driving a two-toned compact car.

Becky Rodulfo's instincts may have saved her from becoming a victim of a couple of con artists.

"I got suspicious when he started looking at the water," Rudolfo said.

She says a man claiming to be from the St. Louis City Water Division talked his way into her home, claiming to check for bacteria in her water line.  She and her boyfriend Pete got suspicious when a second man came in unannounced -- both without i.ds.

"[Pete] said 'I almost hit that guy in the head with my cane!'," Rudolfo said.  "He said 'something's going on; they're doing something!'  The one guy told Pete 'if you give me $50, I'll give you $100.'  Well right then I said 'well maybe they're doing a counterfeit scam.'"

Police said she might be right.  It was the second of the same type of ruse reported in South St. Louis on Monday.

"These guys are professional at what they do," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Captain Ronnie Robinson said.  "A lot of times they travel in twos or threes and using cars with out-of-town plates. They use rental cars a lot."

Police say the same thing happened here three years ago when con artists pretended to be water division workers to get inside unsuspecting homeowners' houses to steal from them.

"If you don't have a scheduled visit, be leary of anyone who shows up at your house, and I don't care how hard they knock on your door, don't let them in," Captain Robinson said.

Nothing was reported stolen this time around, but Rudolfo said the fast-talking impostor has her on guard.

"I think they were looking around to come back later and break in," Rudolfo said.

City leaders tell me their employees wear i.d. badges with their name, photo, and city logo.  They drive vehicles labeled with the city division on the door.  It's also extremely rare that city water workers would need in your home.  If you suspect something's fishy, police say don't take a chance -- call 911.

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