HUDSON, Ohio-- Police in Hudson are warning residents to be careful after thieves deceived a senior citizen into believing they worked for a public utility, then went through her house stealing money, jewelry and personal belongings while distracting her in the basement.
Police say the victim was outdoors doing yard work when she was approached by a woman who said she needed to go inside her home and check for a water or gas leak.
"She did that and kept her downstairs for quite a while and she started to get a little suspicious why she was down there so long. She said that the woman was very fast talking so she was a little bit pressured into doing this," said Hudson Police Lieutenant Kevin May.
"They were probably down there for about 25 minutes to a half hour. They came back upstairs; the woman briefly spoke and then exited the house and then went out to a car that was sitting outside in the driveway," added May.
The victim described a small white car with a man sitting in the driver's seat. The car had no identification markings.
"It wasn't until later she walked upstairs and noticed the bedroom light was on and she found that suspicious and noticed that her purse was out of place and then discovered that there were some items missing, some jewelry and some cash," said May.
Police said the first hint that something was wrong should have been that the people showed up unannounced.
Utility workers in Hudson said they always call ahead.
"Normally we will make a call and set up an appointment either through the office or one of the guys if there is an issue with the water meter, but we dont normally make cold calls and stop in and just knock on your door and ask to read your water meter," said Glenn Pask, the assistant superintendent of Water Utilities.
Pask said all of the department's vehicles are also clearly marked and have flashing amber lights. The utility employees for the city should also have uniforms identifying them with the city of Hudson and they should be displaying identification that has their picture, their name and the department they work for in addition to their signature.
Pask said even with all of that he would not be offended at all if someone wanted to make sure of who is there before letting them in their house.
"If I would ask to come in the house I would want to see some identification," said Pask.
Police said it is possible for someone to create a fake I.D. so even if they have one it's ok to make a call if you are uncomfortable.
If something seems wrong you should trust your instincts.
"If you are not sure or feel the least bit suspicious contact the utility company or contact the police department at the local number; if you feel threatened or if they are getting pushy you can dial 9-1-1," said May.
Hudson police have released the descriptions they have of the two suspects:
• Suspect #1: Female, medium complexioned, possibly Hispanic, with dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. She spoke very fast, with no discernible accent.
• Suspect #2: White male driving a white sedan with no visible markings.