WATERBURY, Vt. - The Vermont Department of Children and Families and the Vermont State Police are investigating a number of suspicious incidents involving suspects impersonating DCF employees who pick up and examine children in people's homes.
Vermont State Police Public Safety Officer Stephanie Dasaro tells NEWS10 there have been 3 different suspicious incidents involving these imposters walking into homes and asking to inspect their children. In all of these instances, there is no known active investigation by DCF involving the targeted families.
On December 3rd, the Vermont State Police received a report three people, one female and two males, showed up at a residence on Phyller Dee Lane in Sunderland. The suspects advised the grandmother that the child's parents were under investigation by "child protection services." The suspects asked to search the residence and actually picked up the child for inspection. When the grandmother resisted their advances, the suspects insinuated that they may be back to take the child into custody and the child could go into foster care. The suspects then became nervous and left in two vehicles, one grey sedan and one maroon sedan, bearing unknown plates.
On December 1, the Lyndonville Police Department received a report on Valley Lane that three woman, one African American and two Causasian, came to the home claiming to be from "Human Services" or "Home Health" and said they were "following up on a report that was made up the road" inquiring about a female resident. When the female resident was not home, they left the premises without further incident. The suspects failed to show any identification and never exited their vehicle, which was described as a dark blue Ford Escape with New York plates.
On October 29, the Vermont State Police received a report from the St. Johnsbury area in which a Caucasian female came to a residence at the Mountain View Apartments saying she was a DCF worker and was investigating a report of child abuse. The female suspect was granted access to the home; she inspected the child and left the premises without further incident. The female suspect was seen operating silver sedan, unknown make, model, or registration.
These incidents are under investigation by detectives with the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation. If anyone has information related to these incidents or suspects, please call the Vermont State Police at the St. Johnsbury Barracks (802-748-3111) or the Shaftsbury Barracks (802-442-5421). To submit an anonymous tip, send a text to "CRIMES" (274637) with keyword: VTIPS; or submit your anonymous tip online at www.vtips.info.
Investigators, in conjunctions with DCF, want families to be aware of the follow safety precautions:
· All DCF employees have identification badges that they carry with them during official business.
· Citizens are encouraged to ask to have this identification produced to verify the employee.
· DCF workers cannot take emergency custody of a child without a court order.
· If someone claims to have a court order to take custody of a child, ask to see the court document.
· If you suspect someone is impersonating a DCF employee, call 911 immediately.
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