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Local homes robbed by individuals claiming to be working for Mountain Electric Co-Op

Reports have been coming in to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department in recent weeks of robberies and attempted robberies by three individuals identifying themselves as Mountain Electric employees.
According to Sheriff Mike Reece, two well dressed men and a woman have been knocking on doors in Johnson County, telling the home owners they are working with Mountain Electric to verify property lines in order to trim and cut trees they say are obstructing power lines. They then ask the residents to go outside with them and point out the property boundaries to them. The female says that she needs to call her supervisor from her cell phone and report their findings to their home office. She stays on the phone throughout the tour, talking to the person on the other end of the line. When the unsuspecting homeowners return to their house, they find they have been robbed.
Sheriff Reece says the individuals are in reality perpetrating a rather sophisticated and well coordinated scam and are in no way associated with Mountain Electric. The phone call is actually being placed to a partner that is waiting nearby and as soon as the homeowners have exited the house (almost always without locking it as they are not going far), he enters and steals valuables that are small and can be easily and quickly removed, i.e. jewelry, cash, etc. The thief knows exactly when to leave the premises as he is prompted by the female on the phone when they are about to reenter.
The team has mainly been preying on the elderly, most recently victimizing a couple in the Forge Creek area. Officials warn that they appear quite legitimate, dressed in business attire and conducting themselves in a very polite and professional manner. The female, possibly Hispanic, has been described as having black hair worn in a bun at the back of her head. They have been seen in a silver van as well as a white four-door car. One witness thought the van might have had Virginia license plates.
Any suspicious vehicles or individuals should be reported to the sheriff’s department at 727-7761.