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Fort Lee Daily Voice serves Fort Lee, Leonia & Palisades Park

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Water company imposter steals Fort Lee widow’s cash, credit card, jewelry

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

EXCLUSIVE: Six weeks shy of her 80th birthday, a Fort Lee woman still considered herself sharp — until she lost cash, her credit card and precious jewelry yesterday to a con man posing as a water company worker. It’s left her with a Thanksgiving holiday that she’d rather forget.

The white, 40-something crook came to the 14th Street house, where the woman lives alone, in the early afternoon, her son told CLIFFVIEW PILOT (The mother and son’s names are being withheld).

After telling her that he needed to check the water, the slick thief had the widow run the bath, turn on the water in her kitchen sink and open another faucet downstairs.

Once that was done, he told her all was fine and left, her son said.

Soon after, she went to a nearby grocery store.

“When she opened her pocketbook to pay for the food, all her money was gone,” her son said. “Then she looked for her credit card. It was gone, too.”

The victim gave Fort Lee police a complete description. But there’s little chance of recovering her valuables unless he’s caught soon trying to con someone else.

“Diversion” thefts are all too common, police say.

They urge residents never to open their doors for people who claim to be utility workers. Instead, they urge people to ask for identification before calling the utility company they say they work for — or, better yet, the police.

They also suggest that adults with older parents talk to them about these crimes and provide specific instructions of what to do.

“Her worst loss was her gold jewelry,” the Fort Lee woman’s son said. “There were rings, bracelets and earrings that my dad gave her, that my sisters and I gave her.

“My sister said there are others in that area who’ve been tricked, as well,” he added. “My mom’s been living alone since my dad died in 1986. She’ exactly the type of person that these people prey upon.”

She’s fortunate she wasn’t injured in any way, her children told her.

But that matters little right now.

“She’s still very upset,” her son said.

“People need to know that these things happen,” he said. “And if they don’t, others need to tell them.”

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