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More than 20 arrested in Pinellas County undercover unlicensed contractor sting

Unlicensed contractors caught on surveillance vid
Posted at 9:04 AM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 04:47:19-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — More than 20 people have been arrested in Pinellas County in relation to unlicensed contracting, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"Operation Drop the Hammer" resulted in 26 unlicensed contracting related arrests and more than 57 criminal charges. 

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says undercover deputies used a Dunedin home on Grovewood Drive for the three-day operation. He says deputies responded to ads and unlicensed contractors were caught on surveillance video at the house offering unlicensed, uninsured work.  

"They whip out things like this on a yellow piece of paper, scrapped out of a notebook, almost written on a napkin sometimes and they just don't care and when they do this, they're not going to do the work. They're not going to do it right," said Sheriff Gualtieri.

Deputies arrested 26-year-old Anthony Gianunzio of Dunedin who says also stole $19,000 worth of jewelry from a homeowner that he later pawned. 

Investigators say Gianunzio's girlfriend worked at the Clearwater Home Depot on Gulf to Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19 and would send customers to him for unlicensed work — she's been arrested too.  

Sheriff Gualtieri says the problem in rampant across Pinellas County including St. Petersburg.   

"What the void has been is the lack of enforcement through the Pinellas County Licensing Construction Board and when there's been no enforcement for years these people run amuck in the community," he said.