‘Don’t open the door’: Florida family catches men on video posing as utility crew

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida family says when two men knocked on their door claiming they were with a local utility company, something seemed off.

Home surveillance video showed the men, who claimed to be with Duke Energy, wanted the St. Petersburg homeowner to open up.

“We’re not selling anything. We need to let people know what’s happening with the meters for Duke, with the electricity,” one man said Saturday.

Duke Energy later confirmed to WFLA they had no one in that area on Saturday night at that hour.

Homeowner Steve Smith told WFLA it seemed unusual that a work crew would show up on a Saturday night with five guys waiting outside in plain clothes.

“I think if someone is a predator, they’ll take whatever advantage they can to get what they want,” Smith said.

He said the situation felt shady from the start, so he and his wife communicated with the men through the front door and, luckily, did not open it.

On the other side stood two young men claiming they were from Duke Energy, one of them holding a camera as three others stood near the curb.

“I thought that they were anywhere from 14 to 20, honestly, ” Smith said. “Definitely, the guy knocking on the door, at the most, was 22. And, then everyone else was teenagers.”

Camera footage of the exchange was shared with St. Petersburg police as well as with Duke Energy.

When the men left that night, Smith immediately called the St. Petersburg Police Department, and officers arrived within nine minutes. They searched the Allendale neighborhood but could not find the five men.

“Good thing my wife didn’t open the door. Who knows what would have happened,” Smith said.

WFLA spoke with Duke Energy about its employee protocols.

According to Duke, employees always carry official badges and wear uniforms, including a company shirt and long pants, and unless there’s an emergency, employees would not typically be working on a Saturday night.

“Be careful,” Smith warned. “Don’t open the door unless you’re expecting somebody.”

The men seen on the video are not facing any charges at this time. However, investigators from both Duke Energy and St. Petersburg police are looking into the case.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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