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Suspect sought in smoke alarm scam

Fire and police investigators are searching for a man accused of posing as an electrician and scamming residents on smoke alarms.

Fire investigators said Michael McDavid was hired by Concord Village, 970 85th Ave. N, to install electric smoke alarms in the 62-unit complex, but he did not hook the wires up to a power supply.

The condo association paid McDavid $1,500, and each unit owner kicked in $45 for a smoke alarm, said St. Petersburg fire Lt. Rick Feinberg.

McDavid, who has outstanding arrest warrants on unrelated matters, may have fled to New York, Feinberg said. When authorities went to interview McDavid this week, he was not at his St. Petersburg home.

State law requires hard-wired smoke alarms in new and old multifamily residences such as condos, townhouses and apartments.

Fire investigators said McDavid installed smoke alarms with batteries and wires that could be pulled out of the wall.

If a battery died, residents would not be protected, Feinberg said.

The Concord Village condo association did not get a permit because McDavid told the board one wasn't required, fire officials said. As a result, there was no inspection.

McDavid has a long criminal history with arrests on charges of forgery, larceny and fraud, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Anyone with information on McDavid's whereabouts or whether he worked at other complexes is asked to call St. Petersburg police Detective Bill Schorn at (727) 892-5212.