Burglars target tented homes in St. Petersburg

5:50 PM, Jul 11, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Just like the bugs they're aiming to kill, workers scurry up ladders and across roofs when they tent a house. Warning signs go up about the dangerous fumigant pumped inside.

But St. Petersburg Police say that didn't stop Christopher Alexander, 25, from slitting tents with a knife and breaking into houses. He was arrested this week and charged with three of the risky burglaries.

"This man was obviously desperate enough to do exactly that," said Police spokesman Mike Puetz. "And he told us on one occasion he did get sick doing it."

Police are also looking for 36-year-old Michael Murphy. Investigators say he could also be involved in the crimes.

Several of the break-ins happened in Walter Miley's neighborhood and to him the whole thing sounds crazy. 

"I was just thinking, why would someone risk their life to go in there -- you know it's poison," he said shaking his head.

10 News spoke with one of the crime victims Thursday. She declined to comment on camera, but she says she lost a lot of household goods and says she's "devastated" by the burglary. And when she tented her house, she never knew this type of crime was even possible.

So what can homeowners do to protect themselves?  Unfortunately, not much, unless you have the money for a three-day guard.

However, police advise homeowners take with them any easily transported valuables like jewelry, firearms and computers. And talk to your neighbors too and ask them to keep an eye out.

And with the house right next door now being tented, that's exactly what Miley intends to do. "I'm going to look out the back door like I usually do."

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