Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit
Joseph Kreplick (Victim)
Diana Cedolia (Victim)
Stephanie Shutter (Victim)
Justin Kyle Crist (Suspect-Arrested)
Address: 2005 Todd Street, Clearwater
Charges: one Count of Grand Theft from a victim 65 years old, and two Counts of Felony Petit Theft
Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit have arrested a handyman who scammed elderly victims in Dunedin and one in Pinellas Park. Detectives believe additional victims possible.
The investigation began on April 6, 2017.
The suspect was arrested at approximately 9:15 a.m. Thursday, April 27, 2017.
The investigation was conducted in Pinellas County.
Detectives began their investigation on April 6, 2017, when the victim 91-year-old Joseph Kreplick, called to report he was scammed by a young man who came to his Dunedin residence offering to do landscaping work.
Detectives say the male suspect approached Kreplick in his front yard soliciting work. The suspect convinced the victim to pay him in advance to complete landscaping work. An agreement was made between Kreplick and the suspect. The suspect drove Kreplick to the bank, where the victim withdrew money from his account and paid the suspect. After dropping the victim off at his home, the suspect left the victim’s residence and never returned.
Through various techniques, detectives were able to identify the suspect as, 28-year –old Justin Crist. He is also a suspect in two similar incidents that occurred months prior.
Detectives say that on February 26, 2017, Crist showed up at 69-year old Stephanie Shutter’s Pinellas Park residence after she responded to an ad on Facebook. Crist was given money in advance for the purchase of materials to install an attic fan. Crist never returned.
On March 27, 2017, Crist approached 69-year old Diana Cedolia at her Dunedin home to solicit work. Crist was given money to rent a pressure washer in order to clean the exterior of the Cedolia’s home. Crist told the victim he would return the following day to start the job. He never returned.
On April 27, 2017, detectives located Crist and interviewed him about the incidents. Crist admitted to the allegations.
Crist was charged with one count of Grand Theft from Person 65 Years of Age or Older, and two counts of Felony Petit Theft.
Crist was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident.
Detectives believe there may be additional victims in Pinellas County. Anyone who may have additional information related to this investigation can contact Detective Q. Collamore at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.
The investigation continues.
Booking photograph attached:
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