More than 140 Appliances Stolen From New Homes in Florida

November 13, 2019

About 140 new kitchen appliances have been ripped out of new homes that had been under construction in Hillsborough County, Fla. After investigating the series of thefts since January 2018, local police described the extent of those thefts and say they have a suspect in custody.

Police allege Nicholas Messer, who is currently being held in jail on numerous burglary charges, is responsible for some of the thefts. Messer had been arrested in 2016 on similar charges related to thefts of appliances from two subdivisions in the Tampa area.

New-home buyers say more needs to be done to protect new homes from intruders when they’re under construction.

“There’s not enough security. Point blank, there’s not enough security,” said Rafael Romero, one of the new-home owners who had kitchen appliances stolen from his property before he moved in. Romero told ABC WFTS Tampa News that, at the time, he was unaware that his case was part of a string of more than 100 missing appliances from new-home construction in the area.

Court documents allege that Messer rented vans to move stolen appliances from construction sites.

Lennar, a nationwide homebuilder, was the builder of many of the homes affected by the thefts. Mark Metheny, division president of Lennar Central Florida, said in a statement, “We intend to fully cooperate with local law enforcement in this ongoing investigation concerning our properties and intend to press charges.”