MOONACHIE, N.J. -- Four men burst into a 79-year-old Moonachie homeowner's house, snapped his cellphone in half, ripped the landline from the wall and made off with a safe after one of them claimed to be a water inspector.
Moonachie police urged residents not to open their doors for strangers and to call them immediately if anyone suspicious comes knocking.
The Henry Street victim said one of the bandits came to the door just before 4 p.m. Monday and said he needed to test his water after a main break nearby, Detective Sgt. Anthony Fugnitti told Daily Voice.
He showed identification claiming to be a water inspector, then "pushed his way into the home and walked to the rear," he said.
The bandit then "made as if he was calling his boss advising him that the homeowner was giving him a hard time," then "entered the laundry room and turned on the faucet and washing machine," Fugnitti said.
The victim tried calling 911, but the intruder broke his cellphone, yelled upstairs and was joined by three accomplices, he said.
"They grabbed the victim and forced him to the rear of the home," the sergeant said. "Before fleeing they ripped the phone line from the wall."
Besides keeping doors locked -- and never opening them to strangers -- Fugnitti urged residents to call police if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhoods: (201) 641-9100