Longboat Key Police: Lowe's subcontractor stole thousands in jewelry from homes

Police warn Lowe's customers to check valuables
Posted at 11:11 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 03:02:52-04

The search is on for a Lowe's subcontractor police say swiped expensive jewelry from several homes across Manatee and Sarasota counties. 

"He bragged about stealing items from Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key because the people had money," said Sgt. Robert Bourque with the Longboat Key Police Department. 

Police say the suspect stole a wedding ring back in April worth approximately $30,000.

 The victim told police her ring disappeared after someone from Lowe's stopped by the couple's Longboat Key condominium to measure for new blinds. 

"He's said that he's stole from five or six places. We have information that it's much more than that," said Sgt. Bourque. 

Sgt. Bourque says police tracked down a pair of $7,000 earrings stolen and taken to a local pawn shop.

Investigators intercepted a text message showing the suspect offering to swap the earrings for drugs.

Detectives are now trying to find the owner. Police believe there may be several victims in the area who do not realize they have been robbed. 

"These installers came inside the house, people trusted them inside the house," said Sgt. Bourque.

The suspect, who police are not naming, worked for Kissimmee-based Precise Blinds. Lowe's hires the company to do measurements and installations.

Lowe's said in a statement to ABC Action News, "We were very concerned to learn about these incidents and that some of our customers may have been impacted. We take this matter very seriously and are working closely with the authorities to help with their investigation. This individual is not an employee of Lowe’s. He was employed by an independent third party. The investigation is ongoing, and as a result, we’re unable to comment further at this time." 

"They do background investigations on their employees. As we know, that doesn't always work," said Sgt. Bourque.  

Police are now warning homeowners to keep a close watch on all home improvement projects.

"Monitor that service worker, 100 percent of the time they're in your home," said Sgt. Bourque. "Make sure that if you have any valuables or cash, or anything like that, that it's put away."

Sgt. Bourque says the suspect agreed to turn himself in to police Wednesday, but did not show up. Police plan to file a warrant for the man's arrest, as well as release his name and possible picture, on Thursday. 

Lowe's customers who had blinds installed by the retailer and have missing jewelry are urged to call Sgt. Bourque at 941-316-1973.