SPRING HILL, Fla - Hernando County Sheriff's deputies say a Spring Hill handyman targeted elderly couples and stole from them while working in their homes in order to support a drug habit.
Jason Buse, 32, was arrested Monday and is now facing grand theft and fraud charges.
Deputies say they were called out to two homes on Sail Boat Lane regarding theft complaints.
Both victims were elderly and both said they had a handyman working in the home.
While at the first residence, deputies identified the handyman as Buse.
The elderly female advised that she had been utilizing Buse to assist her with small tasks around the residence since the beginning of August. The victim reportedly told deputies that on September 30, she discovered some of her jewelry, along with seven of her check, were missing.
She told deputies Buse was working in the immediate area where she had kept those items.
While investigating the original theft, deputies were approached by a neighbor.
The neighbor wanted to report a theft and also said Buse was working as a handyman in their home.
The elderly couple told deputies that Buse had recently done plumbing work for them. The couple reportedly told deputies they believed that while performing the plumbing work, Buse stole jewelry from inside their home.
Both victims provided complete descriptions of the jewelry stolen from their homes. Deputies checked local pawn shops and located jewelry matching the description provided by both victims.
Deputies contacted Buse at his residence and brought him to the District Two office for questioning. Post Miranda, Buse reportedly admitted that he has a prescription drug problem and that he stole the jewelry and checks from the first resident.
He stated that he pawned the jewelry at a pawn shop, according to an arrest report. Deputies say he also admitted he made each check out to himself and cashed them. The checks cashed totaled $1,525.
Buse also admitted to stealing the jewelry from the second residence and pawning it at a pawn shop, deputies say.
"Preying on elderly citizens is a cowardly act," said Sheriff Al Nienhuis. "We will not tolerate crimes against our senior citizens."