HAMMOND- When a man pushed his way into a home on Cherry Street in Hammond two weeks ago, he told the 85-year-old, wheelchair-bound homeowner that he, and his two co-workers, who she described as Hispanic, were with the water company.
One distracted the woman, who we're not identifying for her protection, by detailing how the water was allegedly contaminated, while the other two claimed to be checking all of the water sources in the house.
Once they were gone, the woman discovered so was more than $400 in cash and multiple pieces of sentimental jewelry.
"I went into shock, you know, I said I just can't believe it," said the woman, "All day off and on I was crying just thinking that some of my stuff that I've been having for a long time, some of my momma's stuff, and stuff that I had given her, was stolen."
While police search for the suspects in the case, they're warning the community, especially the elderly, to be cautious of anyone who approaches your door, because they say, unfortunately, crimes like this are common.
Police say there are multiple things homeowners can do to make sure the person is who they say they are.
"If they start saying they're with the utility company or they're with FedEx or they're with UPS, there's going to be a truck," said Hammond Police Chief James Stewart, "If they're with the water department, electric company, they're going to be readily identifiable."
Stewart says that includes uniforms and ID tags with pictures. But he also reminds homeowners that it's rare a service worker will show up without having either been contacted by you to sign-up for the service, or them having contacted you to schedule the service.
Police, and the homeowner say, if it just doesn't feel right, call 911.
Detectives are working with investigators in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes on similar crimes to see if there are any links.