Police searching for suspects who claim they're checking sewer system, lure elderly residents into basement

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- West Allis Police are warning residents about suspects who claim to be "checking sewer systems."

Back in November, Police warned residents of the scam after an elderly woman living near 92nd and Lincoln fell victim. In that scam, the suspect told the citizen that he had to check the sewer system. The victim led the suspect to the basement where they stayed for roughly 20 minutes while they ran water into a sanitary tub. It was determined that while the citizen was in the basement, another man entered the residence and stole valuables.

West Allis Police are now investigating a similar incident that happened on January 15th around 1 p.m. in the area of 108th and Becher.

In this case, the male suspect was unable to lure the elderly citizen into the basement because of the citizen's health and the male eventually left. Nothing is believed to have been stolen at this time.

The male subject who initiated contact with this citizen is described as a white male, about 50 years of age, about 5'09" tall, medium build. He was wearing a blue shirt, work jacket, baseball cap, and baggy jeans. He was driving an older brown pickup truck. Another individual was in the vehicle, but there is no description of this person at this time. The male subject did not have any identification to indicate he was associated with a utility company.

Police issued the following statement,

"Unfortunately, we periodically receive reports of similar incidents from citizens. Remember, legitimate utility workers generally drive vehicles with utility company markings that are familiar to you and legitimate workers usually wear identification and/or clothing with company markings that are familiar to you (i.e., "WE Energies," "City of West Allis"). Additionally, utility companies often provide advance notice when they have to make a visit to your residence or they visit your residence at your request. An unexpected visit by a utility worker should be considered unusual. Don't let people in your house unless you are completely comfortable with who they are and why they are at your residence. If you are unsure, tell the utility worker to wait outside and call the utility company to verify they sent a worker to your residence (and call the utility company using a phone number you have, not one provided by the utility worker). You can also call your local police department if you believe the utility worker is attempting to scam you or commit a crime. Please watch out for your elderly family members, friends, and neighbors. Report suspicious activity to the police."

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 414-302-8000.

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