Man Posing As Tulsa Utility Worker Steals Woman's Wallet

Friday, October 4th 2013, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6

Police say an elderly woman was fooled by a phony city worker Friday. The burglar took advantage of her trusting nature and swiped her cash.

Marjorie Brown, who turns 89 this month, has been a nervous wreck since it happened. She said she never answers the door for anyone, but this one time she let her guard down.

"I ran out the door, but he was already gone," she said.

She may not act 89, but she thinks her age is the reason she was targeted.

Marjorie said city workers have been replacing water meters in her Brookside neighborhood for weeks, so when a man dressed as a worker asked to come in, she didn't think anything of it.

"He explained to me that they may have a crack in the pipe," she said.

Marjorie said the man spent half an hour fiddling with the faucets and looking under the sinks. He told her he needed $61 for a part, but wouldn't take the money until she helped him out with one last fake inspection.

"He says, 'You go in the utility room and turn the water on and holler at me.' I did that, and I didn't get an answer," Marjorie said.

9/20/2013 Related Story: Claremore Woman Says She Was Robbed By Man Posing As City Worker

Marjorie's story is remarkably similar to one in Claremore, when a bogus city worker told his victim he needed $23 dollars to fix something. That victim was also told to go turn the washing machine on, and when she came back the man was gone, along with the contents of her wallet.

"She was crying and really upset, saying, 'I've been robbed, I've been robbed,'" said Marjorie's son, Victor Brown.

He said the thief cleaned out his mother's billfold, but he's thankful she wasn't hurt.

"My mom is beating up herself really bad now," Victor said. "Everyone would have suspected it's a water guy, they're working out in our front yard."

Tulsa police say city workers will rarely come inside your home, but if they do, ask to see an ID. They say, you should also ask for a supervisor's phone number, but you need to make the call, don't have them do it.

And if you think something is up, don't hesitate to call police.

Police say they aren't sure if the Tulsa and Claremore cases are connected.

After the incident Friday, police say a brown van with Missouri plates was seen driving away.

After the incident was reported, the City of Tulsa released the following statement:

"City of Tulsa employees sometimes must contact citizens at their homes to notify them of water service interruptions, temporary street closures, water leaks or other situations. All City of Tulsa field employees have employee uniform shirts and carry photo identification cards identifying them as City employees and specifying for which department they work.

Citizens who are contacted by anyone identifying themselves as a City employee but who cannot show proper identification, may contact the Tulsa Police Department or the Customer Care Center (918) 596-2100 to report the incident."