COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Fire Department is warning people about a man going door to door pretending to be a firefighter and trying to get into homes.
“The last thing you would think is someone impersonating a firefighter,” homeowner Ricky Childers said.
However, that’s exactly what happened Monday morning when Ricky Childers heard a knock at his front door.
“He had a firefighter’s emblem and the sweatshirts they wear,” Childers said.
The man was trying to get inside his house.
“He said we are in the neighborhood providing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and we want to come in your house and do it for free,” Childers said.
However, Childers just installed new smoke detectors.
So, that’s when the impersonator left.
“It was a white pickup truck with a firefighters logo, the same ones they drive around,” Childers said.
His neighbor also got a knock at the door.
“He was up to no good,” neighbor Chris Waldrup said.
Another woman called police about the man after he was strongly persuading her to let him inside her house.
“We don’t go to houses and insist that they let us in to put an alarm in there,” Battalion Chief Steve Martin said.
Instead, Martin said people call the fire department and an appointment is set up and then firefighters show up with their ID’s.
“The only time we would approach a home unscheduled is during a smoke alarm drive when we would be in a neighborhood going door-to-door, and we would be with several other firefighters and Red Cross volunteers,” Martin said.
As for the outfit the fake firefighter was wearing, Martin said it could have been stolen.
He also believes the imposter is trying to case the homes.
“It’s the holiday season,” Martin said. “A lot of people might be trying to scope out what you have, presents under the tree, who’s at home.”
Martin said this is considered a criminal offense.
If he ends up at your door, call police and take a picture of him.