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Vernon police investigate utility worker scam burglary

VERNON — Vernon Police say they are looking for two men who posed as workers from the Connecticut Water Company, and robbed elderly people.

Police say just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, they were called to Grove Street on a report of a burglary. When officers arrived, the elderly residents reported that two men knocked on the back door of the house, and entered under the guise that they worked for the Connecticut Water Company.

According to police, the men said they were there to do repairs on the home’s plumbing.

One of the people inside the home brought one of the men into the bathroom, while another was brought to the basement.

Police say while the residents were preoccupied, a third suspect snuck into the house, and stole jewelry along with cash from the dresser drawers. Police indicate the men may have coordinated with each other through walkie-talkies.

A neighbor reported seeing a grey, or silver SUV/minivan leading the house, heading south on Grove Street towards Hartford Turnpike. Police say a neighbor had surveillance video of what they believe is the suspects’ car.

The two suspects were described as two white men. One of them was described as older in age, about 5’7″ and around 200 lbs. He was wearing black sunglasses, a dark blue jacket, a baseball hat, dark blue pants, and dark brown sneakers. There was no description provided of the second suspect, and the third suspect was never seen.

Police say in the end, several thousand dollars were stolen, and anyone with information is asked to call Vernon Police at 860-872-9126.

Police also want to remind residents to always verify the identity of anyone claiming to work for a utility service before granting access to your house.

This is especially important when the customer does not have an appointment, and a worker arrives unannounced. Utility employees always carry photo IDs, wear uniforms, and drive company cars. Anyone who sees suspicious activity is always encouraged to call police.

Connecticut Water also put a statement out following the burglary:

Our hearts go out to the residents in Vernon who were victimized by thieves portraying themselves as Connecticut Water employees.

Customer safety and service reliability is a high priority for Connecticut Water, which is why we have a customer protection program in place.  We remind customers that our employees rarely knock on the door without an appointment, and we never ask for payment during an on-site visit.

Further, our customer protection program e-mails a photo of our employee to the customer in advance of a scheduled appointment so they can have confidence that the person at the door is a real Connecticut Water employee.

People should have a healthy level of skepticism before letting who says they are from a utility in their home. Connecticut Water employees have Company issued photo ID’s, drive vehicles marked with the company logo, and wear company uniforms. Our employees are happy to provide ID and customers can call 1-800-286-5700 to verify that the person at the door is an employee and the nature of the work they are there to perform.

Connecticut Water has on its website a free fact sheet with 8 Tips on Imposter Protection

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