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Police warn of scam artist

A man posing as a Rock Hill utilities worker tried to fool a 90-year-old woman at her home off Ebenezer Road, city officials said.

The woman told police that a man knocked on her door Wednesday afternoon, identifying himself as a utility worker there to check her water pressure. She allowed him into the home, where he appeared to examine the kitchen sink before asking about her garden.

They went outside, where the man kept the 90-year-old occupied for what she described as an unusually long time. Police believe an accomplice might have entered the home during that time, but investigators don't think anything was stolen.

The crime, known as flim flam, involves scam artists pretending to do legitimate business. Offenders often target elderly people who can be more trusting than younger homeowners.

"We see it from time to time, people preying on the elderly," said Lt. Jerry Waldrop of the Rock Hill Police Department. "When we get it, we try to jump on it in a hurry and let the public know it is a scam."

In this case, the man left in an unidentified blue, full-sized van. Police don't know if anyone else was in the car. The woman's home is off Ebenezer, near the Hollis Lakes Road intersection.

"They've probably already done it to somebody else that we don't know about," said Rock Hill Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley. "If somebody's that bold, they'll do it again. Maybe if the word gets out, people will be more aware, and we'll catch the guy. Or he'll leave."

Utilities workers drive official city vehicles, which are generally white and have the city logo on the door, Bagley said. Staffers often wear badges that include the city's logo. Their uniforms or shirts bear the city logo and their names.

Bagley says anyone who isn't sure about the authenticity of a utilities worker is welcome to call his office at 329-5500.

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