Crime

Cops: Unlicensed contractor stole from elderly woman

Unfinished work by an unlicensed contractor at an 83-year-old woman's home put a Key Largo man in county jail, says a Monroe County Sheriff's Office report.

Francisco T. Ruiz, 44, was arrested Jan. 12 on a warrant issued in August 2013 charging him with stealing more than $300 from a senior citizen, a felony, and falsely claiming to be licensed contractor, a misdemeanor.

Ruiz remained in the Monroe County jail Tuesday under a no-bond warrant from Miami-Dade County. Bond on the local charges is $10,000.

Sheriff's Office Detective Yunier Galvez said in a report that in July, an elderly resident paid $400 to Ruiz for work at her Key Largo home on Bowie Lane.

"Ruiz represented himself to her as a contractor as he has on numerous other occasions," according to the report. Galvez confirmed Ruiz does not hold a contractor's license.

Ruiz called the woman the next day to say the work would be delayed because he hurt his back, Galvez reported. The defendant later told the woman his injury would prevent him from working, but promised to refund her money, Galvez reported. The $400 was never returned and the woman's attempts to reach Ruiz were fruitless.

Information received by the Sheriff's Office indicates the Miami-Dade warrants reference charges of grand theft and probation violation.

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