September 21, 2021
A Petersburg family narrowly escaped a possible life-threatening encounter after some supposed energy company employees showed up at their doorstep. Acting on their hunch saved the lucky family.
One family in Petersburg lived through a Saturday they won't be quick to forget. The incident involved a group of men claiming to come from the electricity company Duke Energy.
Recounting the incident, the homeowner, Steve Smith, disclosed he was surprised to hear a knock on the door on that fateful Saturday night.
Looking out, they spotted at least five men, all donning casual clothes, unlike the usually uniformed staff of Duke Energy. The men demanded the family to open the door, saying:
"We're not selling anything. We need to let people know what's happening with the meters for Duke, with the electricity."
Their claim made Smith more suspicious, as he wondered why Duke Energy would send out a crew on a Saturday night, all clad in plain clothes.
Hence, he and his wife opted to communicate with them from inside without unlocking the front door. The group included two men standing in front of the door and three others guarding the curb.
Smith estimated their ages as 14-22. After a brief exchange, the men left when it became clear the family wouldn't budge. As soon as they did, Smith notified the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Officers confirmed they arrived about nine minutes later and found the men gone without a trace. A search of the vicinity also proved futile.
Luckily, the Petersburg family's camera captured the incident, with all five men visible in the footage, which has since been handed over to the cops.
Contacting the energy company proved Smith's suspicions were not baseless, as they denied sending crew members to that neighborhood at the said time. Smith was only relieved he followed his instincts. He shared:
"Good thing my wife didn't open the door. Who knows what would have happened."
While urging more families to be careful in the future, Duke shared tips on how to recognize their official employees. They revealed that employees always wore uniforms with long pants, donned official badges, and never worked on Saturday nights except during emergencies.
Meanwhile, investigators are working actively to identify the men in the video and determine their motive for showing up at the house.
Although Petersburg police confirmed the men face no charges at this time, Smith stressed the importance of putting safety measures in place. He added:
"Be careful. Don't open the door unless you're expecting somebody."
Opening the door to strangers could result in potentially fatal occurrences or expose one to a possible robbery. In 2019, a West Birmingham homeowner, Abdul Momin, caught a potential thief pretending to be a delivery man through his CCTV camera.
Just as the thief neared the front door and picked up a parcel dropped earlier by a postman, Momin, who had been observing the event through his mobile phone, screamed on impulse.
The trespasser quickly dropped the package and fled the scene. The prevalence of such incidents makes it pertinent for homeowners to adopt stricter security measures.
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