Florida Con Artist Asks Woman for Date, Robs Her Home
(CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.) — Lonely hearts be warned, police are looking for a con artist who asked an 18-year-old woman on a lunch date and allegedly arranged for someone to rob her home while they ate.
The suspect also stuck the woman with the bill for lunch and walked away with her cellphone, police said.
Investigators believe the woman may not be the pair’s only victim, and are asking other women who may have been duped to come forward. Police distributed a photo of the suspect.
The victim, whom police did not identify, said her date’s name was Florenciano Valentino, whom she met at a party. He asked her to a lunch Feb. 25 at an Applebee’s restaurant in Coral Springs, Fla.
Police say after she agreed and Valentino learned her parents were out of town, he coordinated with his partner to rob the teenager’s house. Over $5,000 worth of electronics were stolen, including an iPad and laptop computer, police said.
As the teenager waited at the restaurant, Valentino and his partner were captured on surveillance cameras exploring the outside of her home before driving to meet her, according to police. Valentino kept in contact with his partner throughout the meal by borrowing his date’s iPhone to make the calls, according to police reports.
When his partner said he was finished burglarizing the home, Valentino asked to use her phone one last time, police said. According to the police, he then pocketed the phone, exited the restaurant and left his victim to pay the bill.
Police said they tracked down the number Valentino was calling to a prepaid cell phone registered to the name “Thomas L.”
“We think he got to know her and found the opportunity and took advantage of her,” Joe McHugh, the public information officer for the Coral Springs Police Department, told ABC News. “It was a well-organized con.”
McHugh says that the nature of the robbery and the coordination involved leads police to suspect that the pair were con men who had done this before.
“It’s a very orchestrated plan,” said McHugh.
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