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Burglar leaves a calling card: $4,000 in phone-sex charges

While they were away on business trips, someone was taking fantasy voyages on the Diamantes' phone _ to the tune of $4,000.

A 19-year-old neighbor broke into the couple's home east of Brooksville and made about 50 calls to sexually explicit phone services around the globe, authorities say.

It didn't come to light until Nick Diamante's mother-in-law checked the house and found cigarette butts littered around the telephone.

Phone bills show calls to 1-900 sex lines as far away as the United Kingdom, Guyana and the Dominican Republic, Diamante said.

"This guy had a ball sitting around all night smoking cigarettes and making these calls," said Diamante, 67. "I'm thinking of bailing him out of jail just so I can kick his a--."

On Tuesday, Hernando authorities charged the 19-year-old neighbor, Gregory Duane Self, with seven counts of burglary.

Diamante's wife, Diane, said she saw no humor in the crimes.

"I thought it was rather sick," she said. "This is a person who has no life. To think, that's all he had to do with his time."

For the past three months, the Diamantes had been traveling the East Coast to fairs and festivals, where they draw and sell charcoal portraits. They came home early after hearing what happened, they said.

Others in the neighborhood were away at the same time, but they had temporarily disconnected their phone service before leaving, Mrs. Diamante said.

The calls were made nearly every day from Aug. 24 to Sept. 9, she said. They normally started about 9 p.m. and continued through the night, sometimes as late as 5 a.m.

Some lasted just a minute. Others took up to 16 minutes, Mrs. Diamante said as she flipped through the voluminous phone bill. "When you have that many calls," she said, "the bill is pages."

She said the same thing happened at another house in the neighborhood, with charges there totaling about $900. But those homeowners, who were also away, have not returned. No charges have been filed in that case.

Detectives said the Diamantes probably would not have to pay the bill. They said paying back the phone company may become part of the criminal sentence if Self is found guilty.

Self, who is unemployed, is also accused of stealing jewelry and a videocassette recorder from the Diamantes. Those charges were filed against him last week. The phone-related burglary charges were added Tuesday.

Self remained at the Hernando County Jail on Wednesday evening in lieu of $12,500 bail. He refused comment.

"He had a very good time," Mrs. Diamante said.

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