Who's coming into your home? Tampa Bay area subcontractor caught stealing

A Pasco County couple had a subcontractor steal a one-carat diamond ring while the man worked on the couple's home.

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. - One Pasco County couple thought getting new carpet would be an easy process.

John and Robin Stonaker live in Land O' Lakes, and hired Lutz-based E and W Carpet for the job.

“This is the contract. This was for removal and install of carpet,” John Stonaker said.

The process turned into a nightmare, tears and many questions.

“We assumed they are checking these people," Robin Stonaker said.

The couple assumed the company was checking on who was coming into their home.

“Obviously, they didn't do a background check on the guy," John Stonaker said. "It took all five seconds to pull up his record."

The Stonakers are referring to Roberto Periera, who has a criminal history that dates back to the 1990s. Periera has a few minor traffic incidents, drug charges, battery and grand theft.

“He had violent things on his record,” John Stonaker said.

The Stonakers found out that Periera was a subcontractor for the Brooksville-based company IMC Installation Services. E and W Carpets hired IMC Installation Services to complete the project.

However, when Periera finished the job, Pasco County sheriff's deputies say he took more than just the leftover carpet.

“Here's the diamond and these prongs,” Robin Stonaker said.

Robin's one-carat diamond was removed from her ring, and found weeks later at a pawn shop.

“I had to pay $150 to get my ring back,” Robin Stonaker said.

E and W Carpets says they background check all of their subcontractors, but Periera snuck in on the job.

 

So is Periera required to be licensed?

10Investigates found that some contractors aren't regulated by the state of Florida, which includes those who install carpet. Some companies aren't required by law to background check those they hire.

Click here to find out if your contractor needs a license.

 

What questions can a consumer ask about who’s coming into their home?

“When it comes to subcontractors, it really depends on the scope of work they are offering to the home," said West Florida Better Business Bureau spokesperson Brian Oglesby. "When it comes to basic task like installing carpet, there really is not a dedicated license that regulates that industry."

Oglesby said it's important companies screen people that come into your home.

“As a consumer, ask questions. Who are you sending to your home? Do you background check? If you use subcontractors, what are your protocols?” Oglesby said.

Oglesby said ask the business if they are bonded, licensed or insured.

For the Stonakers, they say they wish there were more regulations when it comes to contractors.

“{It would be} nice to have some oversight on that so consumers are protected,” Stonaker said.

Pereira is behind bars facing charges of grand theft. A pawn shop worker identified Pereira in a photo lineup.

The company released the following statement:

“E and W Carpets does do background checks on the companies we contract with and make sure they have insurance, worker’s compensation, and are registered with the state of Florida. In this case, the company that we contracted with had a helper named Anthony Periera. He is a criminal that has been caught. We no longer contract with the company that hired him and have worked with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to bring him to justice.”

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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