Sketch released of suspect who posed as utility worker in home burglary

Investigators have released a composite sketch of a man who is wanted in a home burglary

February 8, 2012 3:23:27 PM PST
Neighbors are on alert after an elderly woman's home is burglarized while she was being tricked by a man claiming to be a utility worker.

It's a scam we've seen before and often the victims are elderly. Now police have a description of a man they want behind bars.

The latest burglary happened the evening of January 7 at a home on Palmfield near Palmsprings.

CenterPoint Energy told us it isn't experiencing anything unusual as far as reports of people impersonating its employees. But the news is extremely unsettling to the people who live and work in this neighborhood.

Diana Martinez never had a reason to worry about her elderly disabled mother until she heard what happened to the 75-year-old woman who lives across the street. She was ripped off by someone claiming to be a CenterPoint Energy worker.

"It's unfortunate. We can't trust anybody nowadays. You can't believe somebody that knocks at your door anymore," said Martinez.

Houston police Wednesday released a composite sketch of the man who approached the elderly woman while she was in her front yard told her he was with CenterPoint and that he needed to re-route the power lines behind her house.

Police say he then led her to the backyard in order to distract her while his accomplice was inside the house stealing her money and jewelry. Right now, Houston police are working seven similar cases with the same M.O.

"We're coming to the public so we can try to get a handle on these cases before it gets to that point of violence," said Michael Ybanez with the Houston Police Department.

Diana Martinez hopes police get him off the streets before someone gets hurt.

"My mother is thinking too, getting cameras at every corner of the house to see what's going on," Martinez told us.

The suspect is described only as a Hispanic or white male in his late 40s to early 50s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall. He has stained teeth, as he is believed to be a smoker, and a very unkempt appearance.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Major Offenders Division Swindle Unit at 713-308-3100 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.