Woman, 79, Robbed by Men Posing as DWP Workers in East Hollywood

A 79-year-old woman in East Hollywood was robbed Thursday afternoon by three men who posed as Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers in order to gain access to her home.

Len Yamasaki lives with her daughter and son-in-law, but was alone when a man claiming to be with the DWP knocked on the door, flashed a badge, and started talking to her about the drought.

The impostor told her he was there to change a valve that would save Yamasaki money and the service was free of charge, she said.

When she agreed to lead the man to her water heater, a second man — claiming to be an assistant — showed up.

Yamasaki was asked to run the water in order to test the system when she spotted a third man sitting on her bed and that’s when they all disappeared, she said.

“I saw them drive away in a light colored compact car,” Yamasaki said.

She noticed some drawers had been ransacked, and then called police and her son-in-law, who discovered his wife’s new diamond earrings, worth about $15,000, were missing, among other things, Yamasaki said.

“To do it to her, she’s almost 80 years old, that’s pretty sad,” Geoff Coates, Yamasaki’s son-in-law, said, adding that he was thankful the men didn’t harm Yamasaki.

A DWP spokesperson said they’re doing everything they can to alert people about the scam.

“I know things like this happen, my problem is I am too honest, I trust people,” Yamasaki said.


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