4 Suspected of Posing as San Bruno Victims

Thursday, Sep 16, 2010  |  Updated 3:25 PM PDT
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4 Suspected of Posing as San Bruno Victims

Shots of the four suspects.

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Four people have been arrested for suspicion of posing as San Bruno pipeline explosion victims in a scheme to get free food and other aid.

The four allegedly submitted false driver's license applications at the Department of Motor Vehicles to show they lived in the burned out area where 37 homes were destroyed in last week's natural gas explosion and fire.

Victims are eligible for free cellular telephones, food and clothing store gift cards, among other things.

Niesha Taylor and Deonte Bennett of San Francisco were arrested Tuesday at a San Bruno assistance center. Sonya Smith and Lisa Justin, who live three miles from the devastated neighborhood, were arrested later in the day.

All four have been booked for investigation of burglary, perjury and submitting false or forged documents.

In the meantime, the real victims of the disaster are being warned to watch out for scammers posing as insurance agents or contractors looking to take advantage of their situation. Officials are hosting a meeting to offer tips to residents of the burned out San Bruno neighborhood about how to avoid becoming a victim once again.

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