|Published:||May 11, 2011 3:41 AM EDT|
|Updated:||May 10, 2011 11:11 PM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- A warning from the Collier County Sheriff's Office. A man posts an ad on Craigslist offering handyman help and ends up stealing $25,000 in items from a Naples family. Deputies say Charles Morgan is behind bars but they are looking for more victims.
A 13-page police report is just one of many that Collier County deputies feel could be to come after they said a traveling handyman stole guns, money, jewelry and even a truck belonging to a Naples family. The Hildahl family is speaking out and said they plan to use Craigslist again.
"I'm not going to let anybody work in my house again unless I have confirmed who they are," said Leeann Hildahl.
It's a hard lesson learned for Hildahl after more than $25,000 worth of her personal property was stolen.
"Televisions, jewelry, money, guns, video game systems, antiques," said Hildahl.
Deputies said Charles Morgan, who was going by the name Mark Atwood, stole all of that stuff from Hildahl's home after offering to help around the house.
"We believed him and felt like he was an honest person so we hired him," said Hildahl.
Detectives said Morgan posted ads on Craigslist looking for work as a handyman. After he showed up at homes saying he was willing to do work and the residents would leave, he'd steal things like jewelry and then he'd take them to pawn shops to get some quick cash.
Detectives believe others could be fooled as part of Morgan's housebreaking heists.
"There maybe more victims out there that we're not aware of and we're asking them to come forward," said Det. Michael Kovak, with the Collier County Sheriff's Office General Crimes Unit.
Morgan was arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona after trying the handyman story on Craigslist with people there. Detectives said he's connected to this crime in at least a dozen other states. Hildahl said she's used Craigslist in the past and will use it again but with a life lesson learned.
"We can't replace the things that we've passed down from our family," said Hildahl.
Morgan has been charged with burglary, grand theft of a firearm and grand theft auto as well as petit theft. If you feel you were a victim of this handyman, call the Collier County Sheriff's Office at 239-793-9300.
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