ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The owner of Rex Moving in St. Petersburg says she didn't do a background check when she hired 38-year-old Charles Worden, a convicted felon. However, after Gail Valente discovered Worden was stealing from her and her customers, she called deputies and made sure her customers were aware.
"She was crying over the phone," Dr. Beth Benson, who had a laptop computer and other items stolen during their recent move, said. "We used the company before and have been very happy."
Benson says she wasn't aware that anything had been stolen until she received the call from Valente. Benson was told Worden would put certain items outside and come back at a later time to pick them up.
“When the other people in the moving company were unaware,” Benson explained.
Worden has an extensive criminal history. He has been in and out of jail in Pinellas County since 2005. He has been arrested 9 times during that timeframe for dozens of charges including burglary, theft, fraud and battery. He spent more than a year in prison in 2006-2007.
Valente says she never intended to have Worden work for her moving company. She says she hired him to do construction work on her home.
"He was recommended to me by a neighbor friend,” she explained. "One day, two employees didn't come to work. He says 'I can do that. I've done it many times.' So I sent him with my crew."
Valente says every other Rex Moving employee has had a background check.