Police investigating 'gypsy' burglars posing as utility workers in Bethany, Warr Acres

Police are investigating reports of a fake tree-trimming crew that claims to work for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. A Bethany police detective said the burglars are likely from a “gypsy traveler” gang.
By BRYAN DEAN and ROBERT MEDLEY Modified: July 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm •  Published: July 1, 2013
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Girten said two people served as lookouts in the Bethany case while two more stole jewelry and cash from the home. He said the group may use other tactics, such as having someone pose as the parent of a lost child or owner of a lost dog to gain entry and keep the resident distracted.

In the Warr Acres case, the crew was in a white Chevrolet S10 pickup.

Karen Kurtz, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., said she is aware of the reports and that no one from the company was in those areas.

“Those folks were in unmarked vehicles,” Kurtz said.

Contractors for OG&E drive trucks with company names on the side. Workers wear bright green shirts and hard hats.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric sends out letters to residents to advise them that tree-trimmers will be in their area two weeks ahead of time, Kurtz said. A notice is placed on doors 48 hours before workers arrive.

Sometimes workers knock on doors if there is a dog in the backyard, she said. Crews do not always knock on doors before going into backyards, she said, but they should never ask to go in a house.

Tree trimming to keep branches away from power lines is ongoing work, she said.

To inquire if a crew is legitimate, call OG&E customer service at 272-9741.

Girten said if something doesn't seem right about a utility crew or someone else at your door, call your local police.


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