City Water Department warns of phony workers

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 28, 2008

TAMPA - The man said he was a Water Department employee there to check her faucet.

So, the elderly woman led him to her sink, where he turned on the water.

Then, the man told her he could save her money by running "a fiber optic line" from the sink to the water meter out back, police said. But when the woman led the man to the back of her home, a second person entered and stole jewelry.

Now, the Tampa Water Department and Tampa police are warning residents to be alert.

All Water Department employees are in uniform, carry identification and operate city vehicles with the city logo. The department rarely requires entry to private property.

If you have any questions about work the Water Department is doing in your neighborhood, call (813) 274-7400.

The person in the incident above is described as white, 30 to 35 years old, 5 feet 8, thin, with dark short hair, dark eyes and a "clean-cut appearance." He was wearing khaki pants, loafers and several badges.

Police know of a second similar offense in which nothing was taken. That man wore glasses and a Water Department name tag around his neck, authorities said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 232-6800.