City warns of impostor L&I inspector in N. Philly
The city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) warned Friday of a man posing as one of department’s inspectors in the 22nd Police District.
On Jan. 8 and Jan. 13, an unknown male reportedly approached three homes in North Philadelphia on the 2500 block of N. Colorado Street, the 2400 block of W. Cumberland Street and the 2400 block of W. Sergeant Street.
He falsely informed residents that the city intended to demolish their homes. He was not wearing an official L&I uniform, nor he present proper identification to the residents.
Ralph DiPietro, acting deputy commissioner of operations at L&I, said Friday that the man did not directly ask residents for money. The residents DiPietro spoke with, however, said there were hints of a monetary transaction.
“No one actually gave him any money, but they all felt that he was … hinting that a payment of some type would allow the city to not go forward with the demolition,” DiPietro said.
Residents described the suspect as “an African-American male, mid-50s to 60 years old, approximately 5’7” with a partial goatee, wearing a reflective vest and a yellow hardhat.” The individual was seen driving a dark green Volvo station wagon with Pennsylvania tags.”
DiPietro added that this wouldn’t be the first time someone has posed as an L&I official — usually as a way to hustle money as a way unwitting residents.
“Unfortunately, in this day and age, it does happen from time to time and we always try to get this message out to the public,” he said, emphasizing that “L&I will never collect money, cash or checks or anything like that in the field.”
Real L&I inspectors, DiPietro added, wear a uniform with the department’s name and insignia. They also must present proper identification when inspecting properties. L&I asks the public to always request identification from anyone claiming to be employed by the city.