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National gas grift

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A callous band of con artists posing as National Grid employees are preying upon Marine Park, where they are charging seniors more than $1,000 for bogus boiler repairs, cops say.

At least four homes have been targeted by the flim-flam artists since March 2, according to police reports.

In each instance, the victim, usually a senior, receives a call from a woman in Long Island claiming to be a National Grid operator looking to set up an inspection.

“She’ll say that the victim’s furnace hasn’t been repaired in some time, or that their records show the boiler is overdue for servicing, or, ‘We noticed your neighbors were having problems so we want to check you boiler,’ ” a cop from the 63 precinct explained.

Once this accomplice sets up the inspection, two men in tool belts travelling in a van with “New York State National Gas” — an agency that doesn’t exist — written on the side arrives.

Once the victim lets the suspects inside, the con artists poke around the boiler, remove a small piece of the furnace, then put it back, claiming that they’ve fixed the boiler. They would then charge an exorbitant fee for the repair. On March 2, for example, the two suspects managed to swindle an 89-year-old woman out of $1,094, investigators said.

Yet cops could be close to nabbing all the swindlers in this elaborate masquerade.

On March 9, cops from the 63rd Precinct on the lookout for the “National Gas” van used in these scams spotted the vehicle and arrested a man they say was inside a Marine Park home posing as a National Grid inspector.

“He was in the process of doing [the scam],” a police source told us.

Responding officers charged their suspect with attempted grand larceny, but his alleged accomplices were still at large by Monday evening. It was also unclear how many more people are involved in the scam, save for the two men who visit the house and the woman who sets up the appointments.

Anyone with information regarding this scam is urged to come forward. Calls can be made to the NYPD CrimeStoppers hotline at (800) 577-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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