Sarasota, Florida -- A pool cleaner was arrested after police discovered he was moonlighting as a statue thief.
Detectives say 40-year-old Jason McMahon stole $8,500 worth of bird statues from at least three homes on Siesta Key and in Prestancia.
No, he didn't have an affinity for the statues and was keeping them for himself -- he was scrapping the bronze statues for cash. It is believed he scrapped some of the statues in Manatee County and police there are pursuing charges.
"This is a prime example of the level of desperation that is driving local crime," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "People addicted to prescription drugs will steal just about anything to fund their habit, and he was getting about $100 for each statue despite their actual value."
The sheriff's office has charged McMahon with one count of Grand Theft in each case and the Sarasota Police Department has also charged him in a similar case.
Detectives have recovered more statues than were reported stolen, so if you're missing a lawn ornament, or believe an out-of-town neighbor is missing one, call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4901.