News Briefs: Thief Posing as Utility Worker Steals $50,000 in Jewelry

Also in this week's sewer and water news, Trenton, New Jersey, unveils a plan to replace all its lead pipes over the next five years

A thief claiming to be a utility worker recently stole $50,000 worth of jewelry from a home in Mequon, Wisconsin.

To those in the industry, it’s a familiar scam. An important looking utility official knocks on the door of someone’s home and says they need to get inside in order to check the water. Only, it’s not a utility official at all, it’s a robber in a reflective vest carrying a clipboard.

In the Mequon case, the victims were an 81-year-old woman and her 53-year-old daughter. They’d had some water issues recently, so they let the man into their home.

“He was running the water for the faucet,” Mequon Police Captain John Hoell tells WTMJ News. “He asked the homeowner to stay with that water while he ran some tests upstairs. Approximately a half an hour passed she went up to check on what he was doing and he was gone and so was her jewelry and a couple pillowcases.”

Trenton, New Jersey, Unveils Plan to Replace All Lead Pipes

According to a recent announcement from city officials in Trenton, New Jersey, all 37,000 of the capital city’s lead water pipes will be replaced over the next five years.

The estimated cost of the plan is $150 million and follows in the footsteps of another recent lead pipe replacement plan out of Newark.

The pipes would be replaced in phases over the next five years. Residents will have to register on the Trenton Water Works website to have laterals replaced at a discounted cost of $1,000. The StarTribune reports that about 7,000 people have already registered to have pipes replaced.

Minnesota Governor Proposes $300 Million Infrastructure Plan

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has announced a $300 million plan to fix aging infrastructure and upgrade water treatment plants throughout the state pending legislative approval. It’s part of a larger $2 billion borrowing proposal by the governor.

According to the StarTribune, Walz recently took a tour of stormwater tunnels in Minneapolis to get an idea of what municipal workers have to deal with every day.

“There’s been generations of investment in infrastructure,” Walz told reporters. “This stuff is 100 years old in many cases. It’s not going to get cheaper to do it. We’re in a position in the state where we have the capacity to do it, and these are the things that each generation needs to invest in. I think that’s why it’s important to get out here, see these projects firsthand, put that information out to the public so they understand.”


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