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Burglars staking out neighborhoods posing as meter readers

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 28 2012 08:56:52 PM CST
meter reader burglar
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Burglars are trying more and more to blend into the background, and one way they're trying to dupe local residents is to dress up like meter readers working for local power companies.

The idea is to pretend he's reading meters when he's actually staking out a neighborhood looking to find the right home to break into.

The security cameras went up at Darrel Core's Hillyard home after he suffered three different burglaries. When he noticed these fresh tracks in his backyard he went to the video for some answers.

"I thought he was a utility worker and it looks like he's going to my gas meter or water meter to check it," Core said.

However what the fake utility worker is really doing is going home to home looking and listening for the right home to break into.

"That somebody is checking around the houses and looking for places to break in. He's dressed as if he belongs there and people don't give him a second look," Core said.

Avista officials say they've had several reports of fake meter readers and outfit their employees with special clothing and identification to make them more recognizable.

"Our Avista meter readers are outfitted in these lime green vests and will have either hoodie sweatshirts or long sleeves shirts and they all have Avista logo prominently displayed on them," Jessie Wuerst with Avista said.

If you challenge a meter reader and they can't or won't show you their picture ID, go back in the house and call 911.

Meanwhile, recent snowfall has made it easier for burglars to figure out who's away for the holidays. Unshoveled cars and walkways make your home the best bet on the block for a break-in

"They're looking for an easy target. We've talked about things like keeping your driveways shoveled. People can see if you're coming and going as far as vehicles from the garage. If you have a foot of snow and it hasn't been shoveled. It's going to be a sign," Spokane Police Sergeant Jason Hartman said.

That's where you come in. If you know your neighbors are gone for a few days, put a couple of tire tracks in their driveway or some footprints up to their mailbox and you can keep the whole block safer.

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