PORTLAND A neighborhood in Northeast Portland is on alert after women posing as utility workers were apparently casing homes.

Melissa Melcher lives near the corner of Northeast 27th Avenue and Northeast Knott Street and on Thursday she saw a woman wearing an orange vest looking in her house.

Melcher thought the woman was a meter reader so she called Pacific Power to confirm. The utility company told her there were not any workers in the area.

(She was) checking out what we had accessible through the windows, maybe seeing if we leave the windows open, checking out ways to get in the house, definitely feel they were scoping it out, Melcher said.

Virginia LaForte said she also saw a woman in an orange vest walking out from behind her house.

I thought that was strange because I didn't think I had meters behind my house and she stood in my driveway and the second she saw I was pulling in she took off running, LaForte said.

LaForte called police and officers were able to lift some prints off her sliding glass door.

I'm a mom. I have kids. I telecommute and I don't like people messing around my house, she said.

Pacific Power said their employees will always wear branded shirts, carry identification and drive in marked company vehicles.

KGW Reporter Mike Benner contributed to this story.

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