A man disguised as a plumber burglarized an elderly couple’s Russian Hill home Wednesday using a scam about the quality of their water, Officer Gordon Shyy said.
The suspect approached the 80-year-old male victim in the 1900 block of Taylor Street about 12:30 p.m. as he was parking his car in his garage and told the victim his water was contaminated and that he needed to come inside and check it out, Shyy said.
The man let the suspect in and they went upstairs to the bathroom to check the water there, police said. The suspect then said he needed to go out to his truck to get some tools.
Meanwhile, the man waited in the bathroom for the so-called plumber to return, but he never did. When the man’s 86-year-old wife returned home, she noticed her jewelry was missing.
Police did not have a detailed description of the suspect, only that he was a man in his 40s dressed in a manner that led the victim to believe he was in fact a plumber, Shyy said.
No arrest has been made.
Following the incident, police are reminding the public that any contractor or maintenance worker, whether they work for Comcast, PG&E or any city agency, must have a visible photo ID, Shyy said. If there is ever some skepticism about a contractor’s legitimacy, they are required to show an official photo ID when asked.
If they don’t have one, they are not legitimate, Shyy said. If there are further questions, police will send officers out to investigate.
Anyone with further information on this incident or who may have been scammed in a similar manner is encouraged to call police at (415) 575-4444 or text at TIP411 with “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.