Police are warning residents in a quiet Bronx neighborhood about burglars dressed as utility workers who targeted a senior citizen in her home.
A man posing as a water department employee rang the doorbell of a 76-year-old woman in the Country Club section, showed a badge and got inside her home, police say. He distracted the woman while an accomplice made off with a safe containing thousands of dollars.
The victim's neighbor, Camille, said it's frightening there was a forced entry next door. She's surprised it happened in her neighborhood, but says she's always on alert and doesn't open the door for anyone she doesn't know.
"Everybody's desperate for cash and they're doing all sorts of scams and stuff," Camille said. "This is going on all over, no matter where you live."
The NYPD has launched a campaign to reach senior citizens and inform them of strategies to keep safe from imposter burglaries. Hundreds of thousands of magazines full of tips will reach seniors across the city.
NYPD Deputy Inspector Thomas Conforti said the department is arming people with as much education as possible.
"Unless I had a crystal ball, we really can't put a police officer in everyone's home or walk with them while they're on the street or be with them 24/7," Conforti said. "So the unique way we're trying to prevent crime is through education."
Authorities say residents should ask to see credentials of utility workers if they knock on the door and to call the company and verify them before letting them into the home.