San Diego

Sketch: Water Department Impostors Stole $100,000 in Cash and Jewels

Deputies say the man distracted a homeowner in her 80's while an accomplice entered her home and loaded up.

Deputy investigators released a composite sketch Thursday of a man they say impersonated a water district employee and stole $100,000 in cash and jewelry from an 83-year-old woman in the North County.

On May 23, the sketched suspect knocked on Diane Blackwell’s door and told her he was from the local water department and needed to inspect her plumbing.

Once inside he lured Blackwell to the backyard of the home and “inspected” her hoses and hot tub. He even pulled a chair out for her so she could sit and steered her attention away from the house.

Meanwhile, deputies say, a second suspect entered the home and broke into two wall safes and took a combined $100,000 in cash, jewelry and precious heirlooms.

"There is a lot of sentiment involved in there and she's taking it pretty hard,” Diane’s husband Darrell said. He wasn’t at home at the time of the burglary. “It's been a month now since this happened. it doesn't go away."

Darrell said that 15 minutes was all it took for the second suspect to collect.

About an hour later when Derrell returned home, Diane realized she had been ripped off.

“Boy! We must have had a huge earthquake today,” Darrell thought. “Yeah, everything is scattered in the bathroom.”

Darrell fears the suspects might have followed his wife home from the salon or shopping that day. Such theories conjure up some unsettling thoughts.

“We work pretty hard for everything we have for somebody to decide they just need to take it away from you, it's quite upsetting,” Darrell said.

The man that Diane saw is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, 160 pounds with short black hair and a black beard. He was also able to speak a “Russian sounding” language, according to Crime Stoppers and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Anyone with information can call the SDSO Sa Marcos substation at (760) 510-5200 or Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Crimes Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

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