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Gulfport police make arrest in fraud and burglary cases

A St. Petersburg man was arrested by Gulfport police on Monday based on suspicion that he targeted elderly single women with bogus offers to do handyman work.

David Ryals, 28, was arrested on multiple charges of burglary and scheming to defraud. Police said they had identified several victims and believe there are more.

In one case, Ryals persuaded a 68-year-old woman to give him a down payment on a concrete repair job. He told the woman he would do the job while she was out of town; instead, he broke into her house and stole jewelry and other valuables, police said.

In another case, an 85-year-old woman said Ryals agreed to do a pressure-cleaning job. He talked her into giving him cash to put gas in the pressure washer, but he never returned, police said.

Police found jewelry in Ryals' pockets when he was arrested Monday, and investigators are still trying to identify owners.

Anyone who thinks he or she may be a victim can call Detective Hanh Pham at (727) 893-1654.

Ryals was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Monday night in lieu of $80,000 bail.

Gulfport police make arrest in fraud and burglary cases 02/10/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 11:24pm]
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