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Man Poses As Water Department Worker To Get Into Newton Home, Police Say

NEWTON (CBS) – Newton Police are warning people to be aware of a man who is posing as a Water Department worker trying to get into homes.

Investigators say a man wearing a baseball cap, dark coat with a yellow reflective vest and a name badge hanging around his neck, went to a house on Pierrepoint Road just before 6 p.m. Wednesday and told the homeowner he needed to check the pipes inside.

That homeowner, Selma Grosser, told WBZ-TV that she didn't think anything of letting in the man who knocked on her door around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"The doorbell rang and there was a decent looking guy outside with a white truck and he said there is a lot of construction in the area and there is some contamination of the water," Grosser said.

Selma Grosser, told WBZ-TV that she didn't think anything of letting in the man who knocked on her door. (WBZ-TV)

She let him in.

"He was not intimidating. He was just like a regular guy," Grosser said.

So the two, went to look at the water pipes together.

"He showed me pipes F1 and F2 which is obviously bogus and he let the hot water run," she explained.

Grosser says that man came into her basement, started banging on the water pipes, and then turned on the water to see if it would turn green. The water never turned green. So, Grosser asked to see the man's identification, which he did appear to have, along with an orange worker vest.

"It was handwritten. It was his. It wasn't official, that clued me," she said.

That's when the man told her she would need a pipe replaced. She declined. He told her to turn off the water, and told Grosser he'd be back in ten minutes.

Selma Grosser said the man came into her home to look at these pipes in her basement. (WBZ-TV)

He never came back, but police did.

"I've been a police officer for many years. I've seen these types of scams before, somebody will want to come into your home. Sometimes they may go down into your basement and they say they have to check elsewhere in the house and then when they leave, someone is missing jewelry, someone is missing cash. Never let someone into your home unless you know who they are," Newton Police Lt. Bruce Apotheker said.

"Anytime you let somebody into your home, no matter what your age, you don't know what sort of trouble you're in," he added.

The Water Department said there was no contamination and the man did not work for them, prompting police to put out a "citizen advisory" on their Facebook page.

Police say official city workers are in marked vehicles, with blue municipal plates and will carry official printed ID's with the city seal.

It's a lesson that Grosser will never forget.

"After the fact you get wisdom. I should have had it before, but I'm more alerted now," she said.

Police described the man as a "heavy set, light brown skin male" who's about 5-feet 5 inches tall with a "mole next to his right eye." He left in a white vehicle that had no markings but looked "like an ice cream truck," according to police.

If you see this man, authorities say don't let him into your home and call them right away at 617-796-2100 or their tip line 617-796-2121.


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