The woman, a nurse in a senior care home, was in her home on the 400 block of Acacia Avenue around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday when what appeared to be a uniformed utility worker rang the doorbell, according to police.
The man asked if he could speak with the resident about her overhead wiring, and the woman followed him to the side yard, where they spoke for around 5 or 10 minutes. During that time, the door of the house was left wide open, police said.
When the resident walked back into the house, she noticed her purse had been moved and $800 was missing from it. It was unclear if anything else was missing from the house, police said.
Police now suspect the "utility worker" was providing a distraction while an accomplice entered the house. He was described as a white male adult, approximately 50 years old with black hair. He was wearing a black baseball hat, a dark blue uniform and brown shoes, with a lanyard around his neck holding some sort of identification badge, police said.
No other suspects or vehicles were seen.
Anyone with information on this incident should call South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.