Two incidents involving suspicious persons claiming to be “City Roofing Inspectors” have prompted police at the Maple District Station to issue a crime alert to neighborhood residents.
According to police, suspects use the false “inspector” title to gain entry into a home with the intention of committing burglary, assault or fraud involving a fake roofing repair.
The incidents were reported by two female senior citizens, one a resident of Oak Street and the other of Lee Street, between Monday, November 6 and Friday, November 10, according to the police officer Margaret Ryan.
“Fortunately we haven’t had any victims because of the high awareness” of the two seniors, said Ryan. Ryan also said the suspicions of one resident were raised when the fake “inspector” wanted to put shingles on her flat roof.
One suspect has been described as a Latino male, 26-years-old, six feet tall, weighing around 180 pounds and wearing a T-shirt and shorts. He showed no identification.
The “inspector” may be driving a dark blue or black van. Such a van was seen cruising up and down Lee Street a week prior to the incidents, but no license plate number was reported.
A flyer distributed by project SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone) emphasizes that “City Roofing Inspector” is a false title — no such title exists in the city government. The flyer also notes that it is “extremely uncommon” for city officials to “visit a home without having a prior arrangement.” SAFE suggests that householders and tenants exercise extreme caution in dealing with anyone claiming to be an oily official and should demand valid identification and call the city agency the person is claiming to represent to confirm his or her employment.
Officer Ryan notes that this is not the first such scam to be reported in the city. In 2015, fake “plumbing inspectors” made the rounds, and in 2016 a suspect wearing a stolen UPS uniform and carrying a clipboard tried to gain entrance to seniors’ homes, according to Ryan.
Police urge that householders and tenants not open their doors to strangers under any circumstance until the identification and intent of the person can be established. Suspicious persons and vehicles should be reported to police.