Unlicensed contractor scams Palm Harbor homeowner, steals tools

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) - Pinellas County detectives said an unlicensed contractor scammed a homeowner in Palm Harbor and they believe there could be more victims.  

For the last three months, Antony Loiacano has been fixing up his dream home on Wisconsin Ave.

He needed help putting in new floors and placed an ad on Facebook.  Jacob Sheldon responded.

"He basically said no problem, he could do it. Gave me a quote, gave me a price," said Loiacano.

Loiacano gave Sheldon $400, but got zero results.

"I gave him the money and he worked for about an hour and left," he said.

Sheldon came back three days later, but not to finish the job. "I let him in and I left and I come back the next day and all the tools are gone and there's no work done, he stole like $500 worth of tools," said Loiacano.

He called authorities.

Loiacano, a roofer himself, learned his tools had been pawned.  "It's definitely frustrating cause you can't work without them, can't make money without them," he said. "Three separate pawn shops. After waiting two weeks, I couldn't use tools, I had to wait for them to find where each pawn shop was and had to buy them all back."

Detectives say Sheldon is not licensed. "We're encouraging folks to make sure they're licensed and insured, make sure that these folks, that you check them out. That you do your due diligence," said Corporal Dan DiFrancesco, with Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators are looking at other cases they believe Sheldon may be connected too.

"We're investigating at least one more case, possibly two or three," said DiFrancesco.

Sheldon is charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

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