Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Robber poses as a pest control worker in Sun City Center area

SUN CITY CENTER — Authorities are searching for a rogue pest control worker who walked into at least four homes, sprayed the residents with a liquid and took off with thousands of dollars of cash and jewelry.

The suspect in all the incidents targeted senior citizens after they returned home from grocery stores. Three of the cases were in the Sun City Center area, said Hillsborough County sheriff's Deputy Rob Thornton.

In all the cases, which started Feb. 3, a man pulled up in front of the house in a small tan sedan, walked into the open garage or carport and entered the home through an unlocked door, he said.

In the first case in Sun City Center, the homeowner immediately confronted the man and asked what he was doing, Thornton said.

The man, holding a pump, said he was conducting the community's pest control service, Thornton said. When the homeowner challenged him, he sprayed her on the arm, apologized profusely and offered to help her wash her arm at the sink.

He helped her take off her diamond ring, then offered to retrieve a balm from his car, and next thing she knew, he and her ring were gone.

In the second case in Sun City Center, the man walked into the house through the garage, first waving to the husband who was working in the yard – and was given permission by the wife to spray the house, Thornton said. Then she heard drawers being opened and closed in a bedroom.

When confronted, the man sprayed her on the arm, he said. While helping her rinse off, he tried to take off her bracelet, but it wouldn't come off. He promised to find something to treat her skin, and ran out of the house. A bracelet and thousands of dollars that had been in the bedroom were taken.

On Monday, the man walked into a Ruskin woman's home, Thornton said. He said he was there to spray for bugs, but when the woman argued with him, he sprayed her on the hand, Thornton said. While trying to rinse her skin with orange juice, he removed several of her rings and then disappeared with them.

Saundra Amrhein can be reached at amrhein@sptimes.com or 661-2441.

Robber poses as a pest control worker in Sun City Center area 02/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 19, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings

    Bucs

    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Who is Alejandro Villanueva? The Steelers player and Army veteran who stood alone now has the NFL's top-selling jersey

    Bucs

    CHICAGO — When the national anthem started at Soldier Field on Sunday, the visiting sideline was mostly empty. The most prominent evidence of the Pittsburgh Steelers was offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, standing all by himself near the tunnel, holding his right hand over his heart.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  3. 'Battle of the Sexes' is a fine time capsule comedy, and not really about the tennis

    Movies

    In 1973, tennis champion Billie Jean King joined a two-ring circus with hustler Bobby Riggs, billed as a Battle of the Sexes amid the women's liberation movement. Fifty million Americans watched the pop spectacle on TV.

    Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the film "Battle of the Sexes." [Fox Searchlight Pictures.]
  4. Hillsborough will not add extra days for storm

    Blogs

    Public school students in Hillsborough County do not have to come to school for additional days to make up for time missed in Hurricane Irma, the district announced Monday.

  5. Tom Cruise's son Connor Cruise to DJ Halloween party at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe

    Blogs

    Whenever Tom Cruise comes to Clearwater on Church of Scientology business, he keeps a low profile. Occasionally he'll Connor Cruise attended Wild 94.1 Wild Splash in 2016.