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Phony Water Department Employee Robs Elderly Petaluma Woman

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PETALUMA (CBS SF) - A man posing as a Petaluma water department employee burglarized an elderly woman’s home in that city, a police lieutenant said.

The woman was outside her home in the 1400 block of Baywood Drive around 11:45 a.m. on Saturday when a man claiming to be from the water department said he had to check her line to make sure she had water, Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said.

The woman went inside the house with the man, who then asked her to check a faucet in her backyard, Lyons said.

The man talked to someone on his cellphone and told the woman her water service appeared to be working, but instructed her to leave the water on for five minutes.

After the man left through a side gate, the woman noticed that items were missing from her bedrooms, including jewelry that had been in her family for more than 50 years, Lyons said.

Police believe the suspect had an accomplice who stole the items while the suspect distracted the woman.

The suspect is a clean-shaven white man who is about 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 220 to 245 pounds. He was wearing an orange-and-green vest with reflective tape, Lyons said.

City water department employees wear a uniform shirt and a city seal, have photo identification and drive a city water department vehicle, Lyons said.

Water department employees also do not work weekends or conduct random water inspections, Lyons said. Residents may verify whether someone is a city water department employee by calling (707) 778-4546.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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