JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville woman who works from home answered the door for two men she thought were utility workers, but it turned out they weren't at her home to check on her electricity.
The woman told police that a man knocked on her door, and when she looked through the peep hole, he was wearing a white hard hat with the letters JEA on it and a yellow reflecting vest.
The woman told police the man told her that there was a water main break in her area and that he needed to check everyone's electrical box in the building.
When the woman answered the door, a second man arrived carrying a foil-looking bag. The man with the bag then pulled out a handgun and told the woman to be quiet and sit on the floor.
The woman told police the men tied her up and started going through her apartment. When they tried to get into her garage, the woman offered to help get the garage door open, police said. They said the men untied her and brought her down to the garage, and that's when the woman, realizing that if she went back upstairs with the men they would kill her, ran for her life.
"If a person has a gun on you and forcing you to go somewhere, you've got to toss the coin and make a decision whether you're going to go with them and allow them to do harm to you or force them -- if they're going to do harm to you -- force them to do it right there," said Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson.
The victim told Channel 4 over the phone that she was still in the hospital recovering from her injuries. According to the police report, the woman had some cuts and a dislocated elbow from the altercation with the two imposter JEA workers.
JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said it's important people ask for ID when JEA workers arrive at their home.
"Want to make a couple of things clear: First, JEA will never come inside your house unless you have an appointment with one of our energy or water auditors," Boyce said. "JEA would never come to your house. I would ask to see a badge, then if I still had questions, I would call 904-665-6000 and ask them if a JEA employee by that name was in your neighborhood."
The woman told Channel 4 that she feels blessed, and she believed at one point, if she didn't escape, she would have been killed.
"My perspective is, if you're at home for whatever reason in the middle of the day and you're not expecting anyone, don't answer the door. Just don't answer the door," Jefferson said.
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