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Westchester home invasion: Suspect pose as gas company workers

December 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Two suspects posed as gas company workers in a home-invasion robbery in Westchester on Wednesday, police said.

One of the victims, who asked not to be identified, said she answered her door when some men dressed as officials arrived at her home in the 7400 block of El Manor Avenue at about 9:30 a.m.

"What she told me, they knocked on the door and said, 'Your gas bill's been very high, we need to check your stove,' and let them in," said neighbor Chris Diver.

The two residents at the home let the men in, but once inside, the suspects pulled out their weapons and asked if there was a safe or any valuables in the house.

"Fearing for their safety, they took them to that safe," said LAPD Lt. Ed Pape.

Before they left with the safe, the suspects zip-tied the victims' hands and placed duct-tape over their mouths, Pape said. The female homeowner headed to Diver's home for help.

"She banged on the screen and then rang the door bell," Diver said. "It didn't register with me at first that her hands were zip-tied, and she had tape across her mouth."

Police say the male homeowner was hit in the back of a head by a gun. He was hospitalized and released.

One suspect was described as a Hispanic man, between the age of 25 to 35, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a medium build. He was wearing an orange vest, blue jeans, tan boots, sunglasses and had a goatee.

The second suspect was described as a black man, between the age of 25 to 35, about 6 feet 2 inches tall, with short hair. He was wearing an orange vest, blue shirt, blue pants.

Police say the suspects are armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Pacific Division detectives at (310) 482-6313.

Southern California Gas Co. offered the following tips to protect your home from imposters:

  • All SoCalGas employees carry proper photo identification when called out to any job.
  • Verify the employee's uniform and identification before letting anyone in the home or on their property. Most field employees also drive a company vehicle.
  • Customer safety is a top priority for SoCalGas, and employees will always be happy to wait while the customer confirms their identity.
  • Never leave the house unlocked and unattended. SoCalGas does not ask customers to leave their homes unattended.
  • Most of the time a SoCalGas employee visits a home or business in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, call SoCalGas at (800) 427-2200 (or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish) before allowing anyone inside the home or property.


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