Central Hudson is warning customers of utility impersonators on the heels of recent burglaries in Ulster County, as officials tell our Alexandra Weishaupt the scam is believed to be directly related to Superstorm Sandy.
STONE RIDGE, N.Y. -- “I’m kind of surprised because it’s a very quiet place,” said Stone Ridge resident Jerry Nadsky.
But police aren't surprised. With all the recent power outages Sandy left behind, they say folks are now more vulnerable to scammers.
“It’s not uncommon after a major weather related event, whether it be a snow storm, hurricane, flood,” said Van Blarcum. “Yes, it happens.”
The latest scams happened in Marbletown, Kerhonkson and Stone Ridge. Police are looking for three men posing as Central Hudson utility employees, trying to get into people's homes.
“A lot of these people maybe they’re not professionals, but it doesn’t take much sometimes to talk somebody into something,” said Van Blarcum.
Police say they're wearing safety vests and driving a silver pickup truck with a yellow light on the roof. They claim to be changing electric meters. But according to police, they're there to steal and in two instances, burglaries were committed.
“They are not hanging around. They are in and they’re out, so as soon as you turn your back, they’re taking property that’s readily available,” said Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum.
And now police voice a warning. Central Hudson employees always carry identification cards with them and customers are being reminded to ask to see it before letting them do any work inside your home.
“It’s a smart thing to do. We will not take any offense. We encourage our customers to do so and if there’s any doubt that a person might not be a Central Hudson employee, have that person wait outside, call the police or call Central Hudson for verification,” said Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. Spokesperson John Maserjian.
Police say they do have leads in the case. They are now asking anyone with information to contact them.