CRIME ALERT: Fake home-buyers robbing homes for sale

DAVENPORT, Fla. - Deputies want to warn people who are selling their home that crooks have been targeting victims in Davenport.

There have been four reported cases in Polk County since the end of October. Suspects pretend to be interested in buying your home, when they are actually interested in stealing your jewelry, deputies said.

"These suspects are then coming into the home and one or two of the suspects will distract the homeowner with a lot of questions, while the other suspect starts wandering around the house," Carrie Horstman, PCSO public information officer said.

Deputies believe there may be more victims. The crimes have happened in the northeastern part of the county and Horstman said it is possible the suspects are crossing into other counties to take advantage of other people.

"I think it's highly likely people have had their jewelry stolen and don't know it's been stolen and they may have thought it was misplaced," Horstman said.

Jeff DeGrouchy said a man rang his doorbell in early December, asking to see his home that was up for sale. He told them to call his real estate agent, but the suspect convinced him to let him see the home without going through the realtor.

"He took a gold necklace, a gold bracelet, 2 diamond rings," DeGrouchy said.

DeGrouchy noticed one of the suspects disappeared once they were inside his home.

"I asked his wife why he is taking so long, and she said 'well, he's an architect'. He's probably looking at some feature of the house," DeGrouchy remembered.

Deputies are looking for a 2012 white Chrysler 300. If you have any information, contact them. The Polk County Sheriff's Office can be reached at (863) 298-6200 or toll-free 1-800-226-0344.

"They have been able to get away with it, but we're hoping now that we'll be able to catch them," Horstman said.

DeGrouchy hopes they are caught soon. He said he will not let anyone into his home easily again.

"If you're house is for sale, don't let anybody in. My listing is such (that) they're supposed to make an appointment," DeGrouchy said.

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