The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public to be on the alert for suspicious people coming to your door unannounced or for suspicious callers claiming that you owe tax money.
In one recent instance, a man went to a residence claiming to be a pizza delivery driver and in another instance, a man went to someone’s door claiming to be with the “sheriff’s department.”
“In both of these incidents, it is pretty obvious to me that they wanted to gain entry into the residence. This is the scary part. What other purpose could there be?” noted Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
He said his department received a report Friday that an individual had gone to someone’s door, who lives on Highway 1804, wanting inside claiming that they were from the “sheriff’s department.”
“The home owner didn’t let him in. He looked outside and didn’t see anyone and didn’t see a car. Apparently the guy was walking,” Harrell said.
If someone shows up at your door on foot claiming to be with the sheriff’s department, Harrell urges people to call 911 before opening the door.
“The individuals we send out are uniformed. They are in a marked car. It may be an older car or SUV or something along those lines, but it will be marked in some way,” Harrell noted.
‘Pizza delivery’ incident
Thursday evening, the sheriff’s department responded to a suspicious activity complaint along Prewitt Bend Road in the Goldbug community.
The caller advised authorities that a man came to his door claiming to be delivering a pizza to the home, but there were two problems with his story, Harrell said.
One was that a pizza had not been ordered. The second problem was that the “delivery guy” claimed to be operating for Pizza Hut, but the Williamsburg Pizza Hut does not make home deliveries, Harrell said.
“The phony delivery guy left without incident and his intentions are currently unknown,” Harrell said.
The man was described as being in his mid-20’s, and left in a full size, extended cab, black Ford pick-up truck. He was wearing a red plaid shirt.
Deputy Brandon Prewitt is actively investigating the incident.
Harrell, who has been in law enforcement for going on 48 years, said that while these types of incidents occasionally occur where people show up at a residence knocking on a door, this is the first time he has heard of someone posing as a pizza delivery driver.
Harrell said that the two instances probably aren’t believed to be connected.
Harrell said he received a report Friday morning from a local resident, who got a phone call from someone claiming that she owed $2,150 on the disability income that she receives.
“If she didn’t send it in, they were going to have a ‘cop’ not a policeman come after her,” Harrell said.
Harrell said that people need to think through situations and if they get a call from someone that doesn’t add up, then they should call the real authorities.
“This lady was a very intelligent individual and she knew better. She called me in order to let people know this happens,” Harrell said. “It seems like we are getting some off the wall stuff in the area of fraud, but people are doing the right thing and calling to tell us this happened.”
Harrell said that if people get suspicious calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS demanding money or offering free cruises or something to that effect, then they should contact his department, which will be happy to put an alert out.
“That way people won’t be out on these frauds,” he said.
In other words, if a call seems suspicious or the caller is offering something too good to be true, then it probably is, Harrell added.
Anyone with information about these incidents or who has experienced a similar incident recently should contact the sheriff’s department through Whitley County E911 at 549-6017. In case of emergencies, always dial 911.