West U police warn of city impostors targeting elderly

September 20, 2011 3:14:23 PM PDT
Residents in West University place are on alert for men who've been scamming the elderly. They're posing as city workers to gain the trust of their victims then taking whatever they can get their hands on when the homeowner isn't looking.

No one has been arrested. The two men posing as subcontractors talk their way into a person's home by telling them the city sent them out to investigate water problems or to check the trees.

"All of the sudden he disappeared," an 84-year-old West University homeowner said.

The elderly West U homeowner, who lives alone, leaves nothing to chance. Several months ago, a strange man came knocking at her door claiming to be a utility worker. Her caregiver at the time became suspicious.

"She said well let me see your ID. She said he looked at her like, what are you talking about, and she wouldn't open up the door," the homeowner said.

She may not have fallen for it but one of her neighbors did. In the past month, two men posing as subcontractors for the city of West University Place have robbed three elderly residents. One distracts the homeowner while the other walks around the house collecting valuables such as jewelry.

Often times the men would show up wearing orange reflective vests and white hard hats. You can find them at pretty much any home improvement store.

"My concern is that one day a person will stand up to them and they might get upset and just cause harm to that person," said Michael Sierra with the West University Police Department. The pair is targeting residents living in older homes between the hours of 3 and 5pm.

"It makes me upset because gosh we've lived here since 1968 or something like that and was never afraid of anything," the homeowner said.

Similar crimes have not been reported in nearby communities, but the city of Bellaire is being proactive, warning its residents to stay alert.

If someone comes to your door claiming to be any type of worker, don't open it right away, ask for a photo ID and call the company for verification.

City officials also say if scheduled maintenance is associated with your residence, you will receive a notice prior to the date. If people associate themselves with West University Place as a subcontractor please contact the police department at 713-668-0330 to confirm their statements.


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