WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - A Lakeland man is accused of stealing $1,045 from a 44-year-old disabled man.
The victim can’t pay his rent and is facing eviction, the Winter Haven Police Department said.
"It is just heartbreaking to think my son might be homeless," Donna Urbina, the victim's mother, said.
Christopher Scarlett, 31, befriended the victim on the public bus. He earned his trust and ultimately took advantage of him, police said.
"I thought he was a good friend of mine, but he wasn't," the victim said.
Over the course of three months, Scarlett knew when the victim had money deposited into his bank account. The victim earned a small amount working as a dishwasher at Steak n’ Shake. According to police, Scarlett coordinated how much he requested from the victim based on when he got paid.
"To just take your money and not care about you... that has to be the lowest piece of person on the earth," Urbina said.
Scarlett threatened to kill the victim if he didn’t get the money he requested.
"There are no words for someone who will take calculated steps to take advantage of a disabled person," said Chief Charlie Bird. "Scarlett is where he needs to be so he can't take advantage of anyone else."
Scarlett is charged with one count of exploitation of the elderly. In a Friday morning court appearance, a judge set Scarlett’s bond at $2,000. He is not allowed to contact the victim or have a weapon.
If you'd like to help the victim, his family has set up a GoFundMe.
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