Reporting Nick Janes
ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A snake scam is scaring people out of their homes as its made its way from the Bay Area to Placer County.
Scam artists pose as animal-control workers looking for poisonous snakes. Once they get inside, they steal from unsuspecting homeowners.
One woman was dressed for the part, wearing an animal control uniform with a story to tell Roseville resident Chris Bing.
“She was just trying to get inside and set some traps and look for dangerous snakes.”
He knew something was off from the moment he opened the door.
The first reg flag: She claimed she was from animal control, but didn’t even know what city she was in.
“So she said she’s from the city and she said, ‘I’m from Sacramento’ and I said, ‘You’re in Roseville’—she said, ‘I’m with the county.’”
To that, Bing responded, “You’re not even in the right county. This is Placer County.”
The fake worker even had pictures of venomous snakes—just not ones you’d find in a Roseville backyard.
“Unless they escaped from the zoo, they were not from North America.”
Eventually the woman took off. But in a nearby neighborhood, she struck again, and this time the snake scam worked like a charm.
She talked her way into a couple’s backyard, supposedly to set snake traps. The victims realized later that cash and jewelry were missing.
“So apparently she had an unseen partner who was burglarizing the house while she had them tied up in the backyard,” said Roseville officer Dee Dee Gunther.
Roseville Police suspect it’s the same two-person team that hit six Bay Area cities last week, mostly targeting the elderly.
“Based on the fact they didn’t even know what city they were in it does sound like they were out of town.”
Bing didn’t fall for it. When she wouldn’t leave, he dropped a line that would only fool a fake animal-control officer.
“‘Look, our dog is trained to detect both intruders and snakes.’ And she said, ‘Oh ok,’ and she turned around and left.”
The suspect is described as either wearing an animal-control uniform, or a blue polo with animal-control logo an khakis.
If you’re suspicious of a worker coming to your door, make sure to ask for identification.