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Police investigate man posing as building inspector
The Barnwood Restaurant in Ripon was forced to close after being slapped with an ADA lawsuit in 2014. - photo by Bulletin file photo

A man posing as a City of Manteca building inspector walked into a tanning salon in the 800 block of East Yosemite Avenue Monday and started measuring the width of hallways and height of counters.
The owner called Manteca Police afterwards. They confirmed the man was not a city employee.
Manteca Police Lt. Tony Souza said detectives have started an investigation based on information given by the victim and a description of the vehicle that they provided. Souza indicated detectives have made headway already.
“We take this very seriously,” Souza said.
Souza said it is unlawful to pose as a city worker to gain access to a business or a home.
The working theory is the man  who had a badge similar to what city employees have to identify themselves to the public gained access to the business to gather information for a potential Americans with Disabilities Act compliance lawsuit.
Three years ago more than 30 Manteca businesses were targeted with lawsuits by a Sacramento attorney using state law that allows individuals to sue businesses that are out of compliance and obtain compensatory damages.
One business after spending in excess of $10,000 to make changes to comply was then slapped with a lawsuit that — under state law — could award the man who filed the ADA compliance complaint against her for more than $100,000.
Souza said not only do City of Manteca employees have identification badges that you should ask them to show you before granting them access to your house or home but they also municipal vehicles with the Manteca city seal affixed to the doors.
Building inspectors also always make appointments except in cases of new construction that is ongoing.
Souza said merchants can call the Community Development Department during normal business hours to confirm whether a person is a city employee. After hours they can call the non-emergency Manteca Police line.