Police: Fake utility workers steal safe

Published On: Sep 04 2012 12:22:46 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 04 2012 06:20:31 PM CDT

Two people posing as utility workers stole a safe from a man's home, investigators said.

Richmond police said a man and a woman traveling in an unmarked white SUV pulled into the driveway of a home in the 1700 block of Magnolia on Wednesday.

Investigators said the pair told resident Stanley Smith that they worked for CenterPoint Energy and they needed to check a meter in his back yard. The man was wearing a CenterPoint Energy cap but neither had any type of CenterPoint Energy identification displayed, officials said.

"He said he was with CenterPoint Energy and they were going to put a new smart meter in," Smith said. "His partner wanted to go back and see where the meter was and how the lines ran because they were going to replace the lines, too."

Smith went into the back yard with the woman while he thought the man stayed with the SUV. She looked at the meter for 10 to 15 minutes, police said.

When Smith went back inside his house, the SUV was gone.

On Friday, Smith went to his safe to take money out of it and discovered that it was missing.

"I came in to get some money for my yard man, reached for the safe and it was gone," Smith said.

He immediately called police.

"I got to thinking just exactly what the CenterPoint Energy people said, and I could tell right then that it almost had to be them," Smith said. "I was taken advantage of."

Smith has a warning for everyone.

"Be careful. These people do exist," he said. "They should be punished."

CenterPoint Energy officials gave tips to spot a real employee from an imposter.