Sticky-fingered inspector impostor strikes local businesses
Montgomery County police think a man posing as a fire or building inspector has stolen from at least five businesses -- three in Montgomery, one in the District and one in Fairfax County.
He has stolen computers, cash and in one instance told a store owner he needed to take the woman's fire extinguisher out to replace it but never returned, according to police.
"He's trouble. He's good at what he's doing. He walks in and people leave him alone,"
said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery police spokesman.
Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham finds the whole thing disturbing
"The trust the public puts in the Fire Department -- we don't want that tarnished by some fool walking around trying to be an imposter."
His advice if you question the veracity of an inspector at the door: Stop him, tell him you're going to check out his credentials, and do so by calling 911. "I would venture to say if he's an imposter, he'll be gone by the time you come back," Graham said
Here are some of the incidents detectives are investigating:
On August 20, 2009, at the One Plus Convenience store, 7704 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda, a suspect entered the store, began looking around, and told the owner he needed to check the smoke detectors. In the back of the store, he swiped the owner's wallet from her purse.
That same day, a suspect -- apparently the same guy -- walked into Dry Clean Depot, 11130 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, said he was a building inspector and got into a rear hallway. There he helped himself to four computers and four monitors, police said.
Most recently, on Thursday, the suspect showed up at a doctor’s office, 5530 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, where he posed as a fire department inspector there for a sprinkler system check. He picked up cash and checks, police said.
No immediate details were available about similar scams elsewhere.
Police described the suspect as a light-skinned black or middle-eastern man, 30 to 40 years old, 5’09” to 6’0” feet tall and 200 and 240 pounds. He has short brown hair, brown eyes, and has worn a blue utility-type uniform shirt with an emblem on it, jeans and white tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to call 301-657-0112. Callers may remain anonymous.
-- Dan Morse
January 11, 2010; 9:21 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , Montgomery
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