Tenants ask for utility worker's identification, get water turned off

Tenants ask for utility worker's identification, get water turned off

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It is clear on brochures sent out by the city. People are sometimes duped by others claiming to be with city utilities. So always ask for identification.

That is exactly what Keith and Kenneth Ness did when worker for Clear Reads, a water department contractor, knocked.

"Said he was workin for the water department and everything and I asked him for an ID, he said that wasn't important to me," Keith Ness said.

"As soon as my brother said no he kind of got upset and offended, he's like 'really.' Yeah really, we don't let a stranger in our house. And no ID on," Kenneth Ness said.

In a flash they say the worker turned the water off and took off in his truck with the brothers on foot in hot pursuit. The worker reported the incident saying he felt threatened. The brothers called police, who told them they were right to ask for identification.

Today, with a police guard, a different worker came, went inside, installed a new water meter and turned the water back on.

We wanted to know who's responsible and asked the water department. It has begun an investigation to go look at the workers claim he was wearing an ID badge and logo-emblazoned shirt and the brothers claim he was not. His claim he was in fear for his safety, and the brothers claim they were yelling to warn neighbors.

The equipment installed today will eliminate the need for future visits. It sends water usage electronically and transmits it to nearby receiving stations. From there it's fed to the billing system.

The brothers claim they had no notice of the visit; the water department says it made one in April. But that was with the landlord, not the tenants who weren't told.

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