Police: Fake state workers try to enter homes
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF REPORT | December 06,2012
Police warned Vermonters on Wednesday that people have come into homes pretending to be employees of the Vermont Department for Children and Families.
The most recent incident occurred Monday, according to Stephanie Dasaro, public information officer with the Vermont State Police.
A woman on Phyller Dee Lane in Sunderland reported that three people — two men and a woman — came to the home. She said her grandchild was in the home and the people said the child’s parents were under investigation by “child protection services.”
They asked to search the home and actually picked up the child for inspection, Dasaro said. When the woman resisted their actions, they insinuated that they might be back to take the child into custody and that the child could go into foster care, the woman told police.
According to the woman, the three people appeared to become nervous and left, driving off in two different sedans, one gray and one maroon. The woman did not get information on the license plates.
State police received another report from the St. Johnsbury area on Oct. 29. The report said that a woman, who identified herself as a DCF employee investigating a report of child abuse, came to a home at the Mountain View Apartments.
The woman was allowed inside and she inspected the child but then left without further incident. The woman was seen driving a silver sedan but no information was given to police about the license plate.
A third incident, reported on Dec. 1 to the Lyndonville Police Department.
A man said three women, one black and two white, came to the home on Valley Lane in Lyndonville and said they were from “human services” or “home health.” The man told police the three claimed they were “following up on a report that was made up the road.”
According to the man, the women asked about a woman who lived at the home and when they were told she wasn’t there, they left. They didn’t show any identification and never exited their dark blue Ford Escape with New York plates, according to the man.
Dasaro said in all of these instances, there is no known active investigation by DCF involving the targeted families.
The incidents were reported across a wide area of the state. St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville are both in Caledonia County and only about 10 miles apart but Sunderland is about 145 miles south in Bennington County.
The incidents are under investigation by detectives with the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Police investigators, who met with DCF staff, said Vermonters should be aware that all DCF employees have identification badges that they carry with them during official business. DCF workers cannot take emergency custody of a child without a court order.
Residents who find themselves approached by anyone claiming to be from DCF should ask to see identification or to see the court order if someone claims they are empowered to take custody of a child. Anyone who suspects they are dealing with a person impersonating a DCF employee, should call 911 immediately.
Anyone who has information related to these incidents or suspects should call the Vermont State Police at either the St. Johnsbury barracks at 748-3111 or the Shaftsbury barracks at 442-5421.