May 08--Two recent thefts at the Char House Highrise for the Elderly were perpetrated by someone posing as an EMS worker, according to Charleroi Regional Police.
Char House, located at 251 Ninth St., is managed by the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Washington.
Over the past few weeks, a female has entered the building at least twice and stolen cash, a purse, and food items from the community kitchen, Detective Lt. Eric Porter said.
The most recent incident occurred late Sunday night into early Monday morning.
"The first time we think she got in just by buzzing random apartments until someone let her in," Porter said. "This time she told the person she was EMS. That person got suspicious when she looked outside and didn't see an ambulance."
Porter told WPXI, news partner of The Valley Independent, that EMS crews are called to the complex regularly, which would explain why the resident let the suspect into the building.
"Probably fear that one of the residents needed medical assistance or out of good faith," said Porter said when asked by WPXI why the resident opened the door.
The suspect is between 5 feet and 5 feet 2 inches tall with a medium complexion and dark hair. She was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt at the time, Porter said.
"In the first incident she went into someone's room and stole the cash. There was also some food and soda missing from the kitchen," Porter said. "In the most recent incident, the witness said she heard some noises in the kitchen. When she was confronted, she told the witness that she was there visiting her grandmother."
The witness dialed 911, and when police arrived the suspect fled on foot.
"Our guys didn't even see her. We checked the floors and around the back of the building, but she was gone," Porter said.
Porter said he was told the building superintendent will be looking into updating the building's security systems.
"We've offered to have our 3-to-11 shifts and overnight shifts come and walk the halls and the grounds," Porter said. "They need to clear it (with the authority) first, but I don't see why it would be an issue.
"We just want everyone to feel and be safe."
Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact police through 911 or by calling 724-483-3418.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.
Copyright 2014 - The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pa.