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'Con Ed' Bandits Targeting Elderly In The Bronx

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They put the "con" in Con Ed.

Police in the Bronx were searching Monday for a pair of imposters targeting some of the borough's most vulnerable citizens, reports CBS 2's John Metaxas.

"I think it's awful. It's awful, really," said 89-year-old Pelham Bay resident Rita Bruno.

"Of course I'm scared. I feel so bad," added Riverdale's Mary Vinokur.

Bronx seniors are on edge after a wave of crimes have targeted them in their homes.

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Six times since New Year's Eve, two men posing as Con Edison workers have asked for permission to enter homes to read a water meter or fix a leak.

They've then robbed the homes of jewelry and other valuables. Their victims were all between the ages of 69 and 93.

"I know that they were scared because it's supposed to be a safe neighborhood and that happens," Riverdale resident Matthew Spellman told Metaxas.

And it's not just one neighborhood that's been targeted. Incidents have happened all the way from Pelham Bay to the western part of the Bronx -- on Irwin Avenue in Riverdale.

"In a country club. It's happened in Morris Park, as well as Soundview and Baychester," said NYC Councilman James Vacca, D-Bronx.

Vacca said the pair of thieves have their routine down pat.

"Basically one talks to the seniors. The other ransacks and takes any valuables in the house," Vacca said.

Police have released a sketch of one of the suspects, saying quite often the seniors only see one of the men.

In a statement Monday, Con Ed said: "While not all Con Edison employees are required to wear uniforms, all carry a photo identification card."

And the utility urged customers to use common sense. Know when your meter reader is coming. It's on your bill.

"They say between 12 and 4 or 8 and 12 -- something like that," Spellman said, referring to times real Con Ed workers would make house calls.

And use your peephole or intercom to identify visitors.

"I never open the door unless I know who it is," Bruno said.

Councilman Vacca said until the thieves are caught, seniors should be especially cautious.

Con Ed said if customers have any doubts about an employee's identity, call them and ask for verification of the employees' identification number.

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