Man posed as fire marshal to get into woman's home

November 30, 2011 4:16:14 PM PST
The Harris County Fire Marshall's Office is looking for a man they say posed as a fire marshal and talked his way into a woman's home.

The incident took place about three weeks ago. Officials say the man, posing as a fire marshal, didn't harm anyone, but they are out looking for him.

Investigators released a sketch of the man they say impersonated a fire marshal, and got into a woman's house on November 8.

Lt. Dan Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office described the suspect, "A Hispanic male, 30 to 40 years old, about 5'9" to 5'11", average build, clean-cut, was wearing a white dress shirt, dark pants, and his clothes were kind of wrinkled."

It happened in a quiet older neighborhood just off Aldine Mail Route. The 69-year-old woman who let the fake fire inspector in didn't want to talk to Eyewitness News, but it's been the talk of her neighborhood.

"This guy asked her, said he needed to do an inspection on her house and she let him in," said neighbor Alex Barona. "After a while, she realized that he didn't have a fire marshal badge or anything, and she started getting worried."

Investigators say the suspect had no identification on him and was driving a small white pickup truck. He pretended to inspect the victim's house, but left after she got suspicious and began asking questions.

The fire marshal's office says they would never inspect private houses, and would always have identification.

"It's just not usual for people to use fire marshal to impersonate to get into somebody's house, usually it's police or something like that," Lt. Hensley said.

Neighbors who had been focused on decorating for Christmas are instead on the lookout for the man. Even a sheriff's deputy who lives across the street is surprised by the brazen nature of the fake fire marshal.

"Apparently they said he was in the house for quite awhile," said Deputy Robert Andrado. "He must have gotten a good look at everything she has in the house and everything, but normally this is a quiet street."

If you have any information, you're urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. Investigators say this serves as a warning, and they remind residents that if anyone approaches you and identifies themselves as a law enforcement official, you are well within your rights to ask for identification.

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