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Clearwater police arrest 6 in sting on unlicensed contractors

Clearwater Police Department detectives from the Economic Crimes Unit took part in a sting operation that targeted contractors operating without state licenses. The sting, which took place Monday through Thursday, netted six arrests.

Robert J. Ritz, 55, Jerry Garza, 40, Mark Fisher, 44, Samuel E. Smith, 58, Eric T. Petrone, 34, and Leonard M. Magness, 55, were charged with offering general or electrical contracting work without a license.

The crackdown was a joint investigation between the Clearwater Police Department and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Police say the suspects advertised their services online. An undercover decoy posing as a potential business owner and client contacted them for potential job bids. A vacant office at 19321 US 19 N was used as the location to sign contracts and receive a deposit. Once they arrived, the suspects were arrested and given a notice to appear in court.

The sting was an attempt to safeguard residents from potentially shoddy work, additional costs to meet compliance with state and local codes, and liabilities associated with faulty work, Clearwater police said.

Clearwater police arrest 6 in sting on unlicensed contractors 05/07/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 7, 2010 5:07pm]

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