St. Petersburg, Florida -- The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating a pattern of scams where two suspects gain entry into homes by posing as city employees and then rob the victim.

Two suspects appear to have approached the homes of elderly residents and inquired about providing some service such as fixing a seawall, fence repair or pest control.

While outside discussing the job with the intended victim, the suspects will claim to see a spider which they will attempts to spray with a bottle of insecticide they have their possession. The suspects will "accidentally" spray the victim's hands with the alleged insecticide and then claim that it has an acid base which must be diluted with a milk product to avoid injury to the victim.

The suspects will escort the victim into the house and assist in applying the milk to the victim's hands during which the suspects will have them remove any rings, watches or bracelets so their hands can be thoroughly cleaned. It is during this process that the jewelry is pocketed and an opportunity for one of the suspect to look into other rooms for other valuables to steal becomes available.

The most recent incident took place on April 24, 2013. The men are described as:

  • Hispanic
  • One being in his late 20's and of medium build, one being in his late 40's and of heavy build
  • Both between 5'6" and 5'8"
  • The younger man has black hair, slight mustache and wearign a grey hat
  • The older man has darker skin, heavy accent and does most of the talking
  • Last seen in a gray or silver early 2000 model minivan, with no rims and a heavy tint.

Since that release there have been several other incidents that detectives believe were perpetrated by the same two suspects utilizing a different mode of distraction.

Detectives believe that these suspects may be responsible for seven reported incidents in the City of St. Petersburg since the beginning of the year and five of those have occurred within a 1 mile area located between 22 Avenue North to 34th Avenue North, from Park Street west to the Boca Ciega Bay.

Anyone who believes they may have information that would be helpful in identifying these suspects are asked to call Detective Karl Sauer at 727-893-4904 or the St. Petersburg Police at 727-893-7780.

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