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Utility company diversion burglars steal thousands from Leonia homeowner

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Leonia homeowner lost several thousand dollars after being conned by a diversion burglary team.

The victim told police a man claiming to work for PSE&G rang his doorbell Friday afternoon, saying the utility “was going to install a new utility pole in the rear yard,” Police Chief Thomas Rowe said tonight.

The bandit then convinced the man to accompany him to the backyard to show him where the pole would go, Rowe said.

He remained on a cellphone the entire time, giving someone on the other line a play-by-play of what was happening, the chief said.

After 15 minutes he was gone, said the victim, who discovered the money missing yesterday, he said.

“At no time did the suspect produce any form of PSE&G identification,” Rowe said. “When the victim asked the suspect for a business card, the suspect stated that he had one in his car, which was parked down the street.”

The chief asked that anyone in the neighborhood with exterior surveillance cameras check their footage and contact police if they see anything that can help the investigation.

He described the bogus worker as white, 5-foot-9 and 200 pounds, with a large stomach and wearing a white polo shirt and tan pants.

“If you are ever in doubt about a representative from one of the utilities, please do not hesitate to call us,” Rowe said.

He also reminded residents that utility company employees are required to carry identification.

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