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Monday, May 21, 2018
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Handyman suspect charged with exploiting elderly in Gulfport

A 28-year-old man is under arrested in what Gulfport police say were schemes to defraud elderly, single women over handyman work.

David Ryals was arrested today and charged with two counts of residential burglary and two counts of exploitation of the elderly, according to Gulfport police. He has been linked to at least two burglaries, and he has stolen money from at least five people.

Ryals convinced a 68-year-old woman on Jan. 19 to give him a down payment on a concrete repair job, telling her he would do the work when she was out of town, according to police. Instead, he broke into her house and stole jewelry and other valuables.

On Feb. 9, according to police, Ryals told an 85-year-old woman he would do a pressure washing job, then asked for money to buy fuel for the pressure washer, and never returned.

Police found several pieces of jewelry in Ryals’ pockets when he was taken into custody, and investigators are still trying to identify owners.

Police have identified four victims so far, ranging in age from 67 to 85 years of age. If anyone was a victim or knows of one, call Detective Hanh Pham at (727) 893-1654.

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