‘Handyman’ Scammed Elderly Victims, Pinellas Sheriff Says
Deputies said the man took money for work that was not done. There may be more victims, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
PINELLAS COUNTY – A Clearwater man is facing charges that he took money from three elderly victims for handyman work that was never done, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Justin Kyle Crist, 28, is charged with one count of grand theft from a victim 65 years old or older and two counts of felony petit theft.
Deputies began investigating April 6 when 91-year-old Joseph Kreplick of Dunedin called to report he was scammed by a young man who came to his home offering to do landscaping work. the man, identified as Crist, approached Kreplick in his front yard soliciting work. Deputies said he convinced Kreplick to pay him in advance to complete landscaping work. Crist drove Kreplick to the bank, where he withdrew money from his account and paid Crist. After dropping Kreplick off at his home, the suspect left the residence and never returned.
Deputies said that Crist showed up at 69-year-old Stephanie Shutter’s Pinellas Park residence on Feb. 26 after she responded to an ad on Facebook. Crist was given money in advance for the purchase of materials to install an attic fan. Crist never returned.
Crist also approached 69-year-old Diana Cedolia at her Dunedin home on March 27 to solicit work. Crist was given money to rent a pressure washer to clean the exterior of the Cedolias’ home. Crist told the victim he would return the following day to start the job. He never returned, deputies said.
Deputies found Crist and interviewed him Thursday (April 27) about the incidents. Deputies said Crist admitted to the allegations.
Deputies said they believe there may be additional victims in Pinellas County. Anyone who may have additional information related to this investigation can contact Detective Q. Collamore at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.
For information about the Pinellas sheriff, go to pcsoweb.com.
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