It’s a day like any other. You are running the front desk at a small business in Boston at the end of December. It’s cold, the middle of the holiday season, and the daily rush of customers is hitting it’s typical high. Nothing you can’t handle, but in comes a man who tells you that he’s an HVAC repairman sent by building maintenance to do a routine check. Alright, you take him to the back room, show him where he needs to be, and then head back out to deal with the growing number of waiting customers. He does his business and heads out the door, nothing apparently out of the ordinary. Then your break comes up and heading to the back room you notice your wallet has been moved. All of the money is gone from not only your wallet, but your coworkers’ too! Everything of value in the back of the business has been taken by a thief posing as an HVAC worker. This man:
Over 20 businesses in the Boston area fell for this lie at the end of 2016. Gift cards, credit cards, hundreds of dollars in cash, and even a video game an employee was about to bring home; all taken. Fortunately his spree is over, thanks to a vigilant Panera Bread Employee. After the police issued a warning to local businesses this employee noticed all the signs of the scam when he came into their store. Calling the police in time, they were able to catch the 32 year old, Anthony Binsfield, exiting a building he just robbed, in possession of a freshly stolen wallet. While he officially pleaded not guilty to all charges, he can be seen on several security cameras, has allegedly identified himself in some of the security pictures, and has admitted stealing money from one of the locations.
Binsfield is a former HVAC worker, but due to a recent relapse into his drug addiction turned to crime to help pay for his habit. Facing several counts of larceny from a building and attempting to commit a crime (larceny), he has a $15,000 bail and a court date at the end of January.
Have you ever heard of anything like this happening before? Impersonating a trades person to gain access into private areas for the purposes of theft not only makes employees less trusting, but unjustly hurts the reputation of people in the trade. These business owners are going to think twice when an actual HVAC worker comes to make a repair in the future. How can we as an industry combat this perception and make both contractors and customers more comfortable?
Thank you for reading and be sure to come back for more unique stories from around the industry. Also be sure to stop by SupplyHouse.com for all of your plumbing and HVAC needs because you are actually going to use these products to help people, unlike this guy.