Men try to enter home claiming to be gas company

HOLLY SPRINGS Police say the men drove away in a pickup truck that had been stolen last Friday in Raleigh. They say the plain white pickup did not belong to /*PSNC Energy*/.

Authorities are still investigating, but suspect that the men may have been posing as gas company workers so they could get inside the home and commit a crime.

"It's the season in which we see a lot of scams," Police Chief John Herring said, adding the resident was wise to refuse the men entry given the suspicious circumstances.

Officer J.Y. Bridges said a caller representing himself as a PSNC employee called the residence before 8 a.m. Monday and said that a natural gas leak had occurred in the area. The caller told the homeowner the house needed checking and asked whether an adult would there between 9 and 11 a.m.

The resident received a similar phone call about 9:30 a.m., even though the house does not have natural gas service, police said.

About 1:15 p.m. Monday, the white pickup pulled in front of the house very slowly and the two men got out.

They wore workmen's pants and jackets, but did not have PSNC identification. One appeared to weigh about 360 pounds and wore Timberland boots. The smaller man wore pink and black Nike athletic shoes.

The men repeated the gas leak report and said they needed to enter the house to check it. But the resident refused.

The men insisted that they be allowed inside, threatening to cut gas and water service if they were turned away, the resident told police.

According to the homeowner, one of the men spoke into a hand-held radio to a third person, who reiterated the threat about cutting gas and water service. Then the two men left.

A half-hour passed before police learned of the incident. Officers began searching the area for the pick-up.

Within the hour, an officer found it abandoned in a parking lot at Town Hall, about three miles down Avent Ferry Road from Braxton Village. Officers used a tracking dog to try to locate the men.

Herring suggested that homeowners check identification and uniform and vehicle markings before allowing such visitors into their home.

"If there is any question, they can call us or call the company," he said, adding that police need to be called promptly.

Anyone with information or questions about the Braxton Village incident can call the Holly Springs Police Department at (919) 557-9111.

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