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Police see a rise in service related thefts at homes on Longboat Key

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LONGBOAT KEY, FL (WWSB) - Jewelry, cash and other items have been walking away from some people's homes on Longboat Key, and in a lot of those cases it's come at the hands of service people who are working at the home.

"We have some incidents where repairmen would come in have free reign of the house without being accompanied by the homeowner and help himself to some items that he had found," said Chief Pete Cumming with the Longboat Key Police Department.

Police say hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuables have been stolen from homeowners by these service workers in different parts of Longboat Key.

No victims were available to talk with us. 

Chuck Ford, a part-time resident of Longboat Key says he's very cautious with who he hires.  Following Hurricane Irma, he found someone who was trustworthy and reputable to repair extensive roof damage.  Ford tells us he's shocked at what's been happening on their quiet island.

"It is very surprising and I tell you crime has increased here because there's more and more people discovering this little community," said Ford.

Surveillance cameras and license plate recognition has helped track down these suspects.  Longboat Key Police are currently in the middle of a few other investigations.  They say there are certain things you can do to avoid becoming a victim, including making sure you've done your due diligence in hiring somebody trustworthy.

"What we're trying to do is encourage people to use more common sense," said Cumming.  "And when a person comes into your home that you don't know, just either accompany these people around the house while they're doing their job and leave fewer items in plain view of value.

If you've had issues with someone stealing from your home, you're being asked to contact your local authorities immediately.

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