Suspects pose as DTE workers to get inside Inkster woman's house, later return with group to break in
INKSTER, Mich. (FOX 2) - In early August, a man claiming to be from DTE Energy knocked on the door of 84-year-old Nancy Lee's Inkster home.
"My daughter and I were in the living room had a knock on the door and a young man came to the door posed himself as DTE," Lee said. "And would we come outside and he would show us where the leak was at."
So, they went to the backyard, but there was no leak.
Lee said while they were out back, another man went into the house through the front door and stole $5,000 from her disabled daughter's room. The pair then fled in a gray older model gray Ford pickup truck.
"We often hear heartbreaking stories of scammers gaining entry into customers’ homes by pretending to be DTE employees. Scammers often target vulnerable homeowners such as senior citizens, new homeowners, or individuals who live by themselves," a spokesperson for DTE said.
On Friday, the man returned to the home on Patterson Court. This time, he told the woman she had a gas leak in her basement and asked to come inside the house.
"I told him no. I asked for his badge. He said when he was done with his work that he would show us his badge," Lee said.
After she wouldn't let him in, Lee said the man and three other suspects forced their way into her home.
"It is very rare a DTE employee will need to enter your home, but it does happen. Know we will use every opportunity to make you aware of any work needing to be done at your home or will contact you in advance to schedule time for the work to be completed," DTE said.
"They manhandled my daughter," Lee said.
They went to her daughter's room looking for money but found nothing this time.
She hopes someone recognizes the suspects and turns them in.
"That’s sad we have to live in a world where older people don’t feel safe in their own home," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Inkster Police Det. Shawn Vargo at 313-819-2866.
DTE reiterated the importance of always asking for ID if someone claims to be a worker. All DTE Electric and DTE Gas employees and contractors carry photo identification badges and are required to display their badge if asked.
If you are unsure about an employee’s identification or want to verify the nature of the work to be done at your home, call DTE at 800-477-4747.
Also, do not allow people into your home who claim to offer a DTE Electric or DTE Gas refund. Employees never deliver cash refunds or rebates to customers’ homes. DTE does not collect or accept bill payments at customers’ homes or businesses.