‘Don’t open the door’: Florida family catches men on camera posing as Duke Energy crew

Around the South

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – It all started with a knock on the door.

A St. Petersburg family says it happened on Saturday night. Two men were at their door claiming they were with Duke Energy.

They wanted the homeowner to open up, and it was all caught on camera. There was one big problem.

Duke Energy confirmed to 8 On Your Side that they had no one in that area on Saturday night at that hour.

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

The homeowner, Steve Smith, tells 8 On Your Side 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 says it was a shady situation from the start as he and his wife communicated through the front door, and luckily she 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.”

The entire exchange was caught on camera, footage that has now been shared with St. Petersburg Police, as well as with Duke Energy.

When the men left that night, Steve immediately called the St. Petersburg Police Department.

The police department confirms that officers arrived within nine minutes. They searched the Allendale neighborhood, but could not locate the five men.

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

8 On Your Side spoke at length with Duke Energy and learned a great deal of information regarding employee protocol when working in neighborhoods.

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.

As for Steve, he just wants everyone to be aware and be safe.

“Be careful, don’t open the door unless you’re expecting somebody,” he said.

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.

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