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Man poses as city worker, tries to enter home

 | Published on 5/19/2011


A man wearing a yellow hard hat posing as a Belmont city worker tried to gain access to a home on Chula Vista Drive Tuesday afternoon, according to police.

The incident follows a recent home invasion in San Mateo in which men in yellow hard hats posing as utility workers broke into an elderly woman’s home and ransacked it while the victim was made to watch. A similar incident occurred in Woodside in late April.

The suspect in Tuesday’s incident knocked on the door of a residence on the 1700 block of Chula Vista Drive at 2:45 p.m. and identified himself as a city employee working on a neighbor’s sewer line, according to police.

He told the female resident of the home that he needed to gain access to her backyard to check on something, according to police.

The woman initially allowed him access to the yard but, after thinking about it, decided to ask the fake city worker for a badge or identification, according to police.

When confronted, the man told the woman he was going to his vehicle to get his identification but then quickly drove off in a dark red or burgundy van, according to police.

The man was described as white, in his early 30s, with a medium build, standing about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing approximately 170 pounds, according to police. 

He was wearing a yellow hard hat, dark blue long-sleeve shirt and dark pants, according to police.

Police suspect the fake city worker may have been casing the neighborhood for a burglary or other crime.

Public Works employees and utility workers wear uniforms and carry identification and the public should not be afraid to ask someone claiming to be with the city for identification, according to a statement by the Belmont Police Department. 

Tuesday’s incident is the first in recent history in which someone posed as a fake city or utility worker in Belmont, police Capt. Dan DeSmidt said yesterday.

“Our investigators are working with San Mateo for a link,” DeSmidt said.

On May 2 in San Mateo, a group of three men, one wearing a yellow hard hat, forced entry into an elderly woman’s home early in the afternoon, ransacking it before making off with some of the victim’s valuables.

The victim in that case was assaulted, suffered a visible injury and was treated at the scene.

The three men, posing as construction or utility workers, came to the victim’s front door and rang the bell at about 1:25 p.m.

The victim, in her 80s, did not answer the door, however, and the three men entered the home on the 400 block of Portola Drive in the Beresford/Hillsdale neighborhood by forcing entry through the back, according to police.

She was forced to sit down by the suspects as they rifled through her belongings.

The suspects in that case are described as three Hispanic males, possibly in their 20s with one wearing a yellow hard hat and possibly a red shirt, according to police.

A man posing as a Caltrans worker distracted a Woodside homeowner April 28 while another suspect snuck in an unlocked back door and stole items, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

The Woodside incident began when a man dressed in a transportation worker outfit, with the blue shirt and yellow hard hat, knocked on a front door at a residence on Tripp Road. The suspect said he was there to check landslide possibilities because of recent strong storms. When the victim was distracted, a second suspect entered the back door and made off with some jewelry, according to the Sheriff’s Office.


Anyone with information about the Belmont case should call (650) 595-7400.