GLADSTONE, Mo. -- Northland neighbors are warning of a pest control impersonator. A homeowner who contracted a legitimate company fears the fraudster is tailing the real exterminators in hopes of committing a crime.
Eric Mansauri just moved to his Gladstone neighborhood with family. Last week, he was home when their pest control company came by for a routine treatment.
“Dude was super professional and all that,” Mansauri said.
After the exterminator left, he walked down the back steps to make sure the gate was locked up. But about an hour later, someone else came to the door.
“Some guy in a raggedy old truck came up, and he didn't have a uniform or anything and said, ‘Well I'm here for your follow up,’” Mansauri said.
Without a uniform or marked truck, his gut said this was a scam.
“He was like, 'Well I've noticed that the homeowners haven't been around lately, so I don`t want them to miss out on this free opportunity,’” Mansauri said.
The family believes the visitor had been following the legitimate pest company and watching their home, waiting for a chance to pounce. Mansauri said he brushed it off at first and went to work. But when he came home late that night, there was a new worrisome sign.
“The gate was wide open, so I knew something was off,” he said.
Their trash can, which normally sits by the garage, was tipped over by the back fence from someone standing on it and climbing over. When he got inside, Eric let the dogs out.
“They started barking a bunch, heard a little noise and they just sprinted up the stairs over here,” he said.
Eric panicked, ran upstairs and started flipping the house lights on. Then he called 911.
“Then I started hearing noises of running, stuff being knocked off, the fence banging around,” Mansauri said.
When police arrived, they found muddy foot prints all over the yard. Below the deck, stuff was knocked over and a few things busted. They believe the phony pest guy came back and was planning to break in.
“It puts everyone kind of on edge here,” Mansauri said.
His family called the real pest company, which told them it's at least the second time something like that has happened this week.
The homeowners association has issued a warning to neighbors, and the family is spreading the word, too, so others will watch out for suspicious activity.