Home invasions put homeowners on high alert

Potential thieves posing as fake servicemen
Posted at 6:49 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 18:49:55-05

On Friday, 7 Eyewitness News told you about a man posing as a utility worker on Normal Avenue. Some days before that, Herb Brigman, who lives in Lancaster, had a very similar situation.

"He was where you're standing, and he was taking a picture of this," Brigman said, pointing at a satellite dish on his Lancaster home.

Brigman was recalling when a stranger was standing just a few feet away from him, taking pictures of that dish, Wednesday afternoon.

"I was in the garage, and the car was not in the driveway so he figured nobody was home," said Brigman.

But Brigman was home, and quickly approached the mystery man.

"He said he was from DirecTV, he had no uniform, no tag, nothing," said Brigman.

But despite the red flags, Brigman let him in anyway. That's because a worker from DirecTV just happened to have paid a visit to his home earlier that same day to fix a problem with his receiver box.

"The next thing I know, the same day, I've got a guy out here taking pictures," Brigman recalled. "I don't even know who he is!"

After the man left, Brigman called the satellite company, which said it had not sent anyone else over.

This is just one recent case in the area involving potential thieves posing as fake servicemen. Last Thursday, Buffalo police say an intruder posing as a utility worker hit a homeowner and stole cash on Normal Avenue. Saturday, police say a man posing as a Time Warner employee tried entering a home on Gatchell Street.

Karen Merkel from National Fuel says her company never sends servicemen out unannounced, unless it's an emergency. She says homeowners always need to be vigilant.

"Check the I.D., check for logo clothing, check for a vehicle within eyesight," said Merkel. "If you're still uncomfortable, I would recommend that they call whomever the organization that the individual is saying they represent."

Because of these recent incidents, National Fuel set up a phone number where customers can call and ask any questions regarding their employees that may be at your door. They set it up Monday morning, when we interviewed Merkel.

To reach that service, you can call: 716-686-6123.