Con artists targeting Chinese community

Police officials are urging San Francisco’s Chinese community to be wary of thieves who may be posing as city workers to gain entry into homes.

Since July 2, there have been five crimes reported in which a man identifying himself as a Water Department worker has stolen valuables from residents' homes.

Four of those cases have happened since Aug. 14, and all the victims thus far have been Chinese, according to police. The suspect has stolen cash, jewelry and other possessions in the heists.

The burglaries have all occurred in the Nob Hill and North Beach neighborhoods.  In every case, the suspect has been described as Hispanic man between the ages of 30 and 50.

As a precaution, police are reminding residents that Water Department workers only respond to homes by customer request and they carry official identification cards.

The Water Department con is the latest in a series of scams in The City involving the imitation of utility workers.

In January, three men were arrested in San Francisco after gaining access into several Bay Area homes by falsely posing as Pacific Gas and Electric employees, and a group of con artists have been stealing from homes in The City’s Richmond district for years by claiming to be utility workers.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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