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Officials discuss 'unusual' scam

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brazil City Police Chief Larry Pierce
Officials are urging local residents to be alert about an unusual scam involving the elderly, but anyone could potentially become an unknowing victim of.

According to Brazil City Police Chief Larry Pierce, a report of "theft of utilities" was investigated Sunday.

Details about the case are limited to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.

However, Pierce told The Brazil Times the incident allegedly occurred at an unidentified 89-year-old woman's home sometime Saturday.

Apparently two men hooked up a water hose to the woman's outdoor faucet so they could power wash the siding of a home located next door. According to the report, the men used the water for an extended amount of time before disconnecting the hose and leaving the area.

Pierce said he understood a number of reasons, which could include fear or being unsure of what to do, could have caused the delay in reporting the incident. A family member of the woman reported the incident to authorities Sunday.

"If the department would have been notified while it was happening, we could have caught the two men red handed," Pierce said. "People really need to call the police when something like this happens. Don't ever hesitate to call law enforcement if you think something is wrong."

While there was no reported property damage during the incident, the victim's water bill could become a problem next month.

"We don't know how long the water was used," Pierce said. "Someone has to pay for that."

Investigators will be comparing the victim's water bills next month to help determine what charges can potentially be filed in the matter if the suspects are caught.

Charges potentially range from criminal mischief, trespassing and/or theft or theft, receiving stolen property. Whether they will be filed, as felony or misdemeanor charges, will be determined by the amount of damages.

"There's always someone out there trying to scam senior citizens," Pierce said. "But this type of incident could potentially happen to anyone."

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Something like this happened on our property. We have several outside spickets and on Tuesday as I was driving out I noticed the one furtherest from the house was on full force. This could have been some kids' idea of a joke but we are on a limited income so next month's water bill will cause us problems. I have no idea how long the water was running. Why would someone do this? It had to have done on purpose as we never use water this far from the house. We have lived here 17 years and this is the first time we have had this problem. We also had 2 attempts at breaking into our barn and minibarn.

-- Posted by waterless on Tue, Jun 7, 2011, at 6:10 AM

We had a water pump stolen from out of the ground once. The replacement is now welded & pad locked. We will have to use a cutting torch to get to it if ever we need to but it will make it much harder for someone to steal it. This was done probably 15+ yrs ago.

-- Posted by indianamama on Tue, Jun 7, 2011, at 9:14 AM

hillbillie, common sense goes a long way. :)

-- Posted by BWare on Tue, Jun 7, 2011, at 10:31 AM

I do know (from experience) that the Brazil Utilities office will adjust your water bill ONE TIME as a courtesy. Of course, having filed a police report would help ensure the validity of reducing the bill.

HILLBILLIE - I'm sure Chief Pierce has it under control, but leave your name and number in case he needs your input.

Hope they catch these guys.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Jun 7, 2011, at 12:01 PM

EMMES, did you leave your name and number at the Utility office? They could probably use someone with your "experience".

-- Posted by BWare on Tue, Jun 7, 2011, at 12:21 PM

Thannks for the suggestions. I plan to go to the water office tomorrow. The spicket is now pad locked. Everything is now pad locked so if they thieves read this, you're out of luck.

-- Posted by waterless on Wed, Jun 8, 2011, at 10:10 PM

It's pretty sad that people actually feel the need to steal water.....

-- Posted by always skeptical on Thu, Jun 9, 2011, at 9:03 PM

You're probably right, BWARE. Thanks. ; )

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Jun 14, 2011, at 11:40 AM

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