Three Arrests In Contractor Robbery

OCEAN PINES — An Ocean Pines resident was robbed of $40,000 recently after leaving a home improvement project worker with a key only to return and find out a robbery had taken place.

The resident contracted with a local home improvement company for some home repairs. The resident gave the key to his home to the contractor’s employees and left. Ocean Pines Police later responded to a $40,000 theft report at the home.

“After an intensive investigation, we identified and arrested three suspects in this case,” said Massey. “The sad thing about this one is it was preventable.”

Most home improvement companies are bonded and insured and are clearly safe and above reproach. However, in some cases the employees hired to do the actual work in residents’ homes have not been thoroughly checked out.

“Unfortunately, with some improvement companies, people haven’t been properly vetted with background checks,” he said. “They come in and some residents give them the run of the place. I recommend limiting their access to the areas where the projects are going on.”

Massey said a little common sense can prevent thefts and burglaries similar to the case involving the $40,000 theft from the Pines’ resident.

“Secure your valuables, particularly jewelry, and never allow home improvement personnel unsupervised in your home,” he said. “Limit their access to only the areas of improvement and never leave valuables in plain view.”

Massey said thefts can take many forms and target unsuspecting and trusting victims.

“We had one case where a man was working in the yard and a father asked if his son could use the bathroom,” he said. “The resident allowed the boy to use the bathroom and he ended up going in and swiping a bunch of jewelry. The man actually trained his son to steal.”

Massey said some residents are more susceptible, not because they have diminished faculties, but because they come from a kinder, more trusting generation.

“We have a lot of senior citizens in Ocean Pines and they grew up in an era when your word was your bond and deals like home improvement projects were consummated with a handshake,” he said. “It’s a shame because they are generally trusting because that’s what they’re used to, but unfortunately in this day and age it sometimes comes back to haunt them.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.