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SMUD impersonators allegedly hold woman at gunpoint and try breaking into her home, law enforcement say

The two impersonators told the homeowner they were investigating a gas leak before making their way into her fenced yard.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office is looking for two men who they say impersonated SMUD utility workers and tried breaking into a woman's home.

The incident happened on Jan. 23 on El Sur Way in the Arden Park neighborhood. The two impersonators told the homeowner they were investigating a gas leak before making their way into her fenced yard.

"PG&E does gas leaks," said Sandy Duveneck, a longtime resident on El Sur Way. "But for an elderly person, they might not know the difference."

One of the two men allegedly tried getting into the woman's home by holding her at gunpoint and threatening her. The woman didn't let them in her home, and luckily, was able to push the man away before the two suspects walked away and drove off. 

Liz Flores and her husband Dave Flores have lived in the Arden Park neighborhood for more than 10 years and were both surprised to hear about what happened on El Sur Way.

"We are shocked that that would happen — we've never seen people impersonating SMUD employees around and we're out and about every day," said Liz. 

"I always ask 'Let me see your badge please' so we've been very cautious about that," said Dave.

A neighbor who spoke to ABC10 said he heard about the incident and saw a large police presence on the street. Another resident, Sandy Duveneck said she'll be extra vigilant when people come to her home after learning about the incident.

"It's very scary, especially for single people," said Duveneck. "I need to put my alarm on more often and just be on the lookout."

Hector Alvarez who's a security expert told ABC10 what homeowners can do to stay safe if somebody knocks on the door or approaches their yard. One of the tips and concepts he mentioned is situational awareness.

"What that does is it allows you to recognize when there's a change — when something's different and it peaks your interest," said Alvarez.

Alvarez says if something feels off about a person, always trust your intuition and be prepared to make a decision.

"That weird little feeling in the pit of your stomach, or the hair on the back of your neck which is also very powerful in determining 'Is this situation safe'," Alvarez said. "We have to be willing to get up and get inside the house, to walk away when the other person's behavior is giving us concern."

In a statement to ABC 10, SMUD said their employees will always be in logoed gear, in a SMUD truck and will always have a SMUD badge. They say customers should always ask for an employee badge and ID number. Residents can call 916-742-SMUD to verify if an actual employee is at their home.

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