Contractor Steals Homeowners’ Valuables, Demands Cash For Their Return

It’s certainly not unheard of to have your things stolen by workers with access to your home, but most of them don’t have the gall to justify their theft by saying the victim should pay a ransom because the thief’s boss doesn’t pay them enough.

The Philadelphia Daily News’ Ronnie Polaneczky has the story of a couple here in Philly who have experienced one nightmare after another since moving into their newly constructed home in 2012.

First, the roof leaked, and even though the builder had included a one-year warranty, the delay in fixing the problem resulted in damage to interior walls and floors.

They finally seemed to get that problem sorted out and hired a contractor to repair the walls. Everything was fine until the day when the couple left the home for a few hours while work continued.

When they returned, the front door was open, the workers were missing — and so was some jewelry, an iPad, and three laptops, one of which contained the only digital copy of the husband’s thesis dissertation that he was set to defend the next day.

The couple contacted the police and began reaching out to the foreman on the job, begging him to help make things right.

When he finally replied, the foreman initially blamed the theft on another worker before ultimately admitting he’d stolen the items “for leverage” because his boss didn’t pay him enough.

The next day, the thief texted to say he’d return the purloined items if the homeowner paid $300. They arranged to meet in a McDonald’s parking lot. Meanwhile, the homeowner alerted police and made photocopies of the cash so that the serial numbers could be used as evidence.

Then the thief got cold feet, texting that “I have this feeling that u are going to have cops with u I seen this in movies before we’re u meet at the drop and the bad guy gets caught.”

He then sent multiple texts with directions to a second exchange spot.

Eventually, the homeowner found some of his stuff (one laptop, the iPad, and some jewelry were missing) stashed in a gym bag (also stolen from his home) inside a garbage can. The thief was nowhere to be found.

The couple sued the owner of the company that employed the thief, and even though the court sided with them, the homeowners have yet to see a penny.

Check out the whole sordid story at Philly.com.