BRADENTON, Fla. – The Federal Government undercover officers busted in on an illegal operation at the primary office of Reliable Locksmith and security in Bradenton, Florida. They are a statewide company of professional locksmiths who travel in local areas surrounding Bradenton. According to the police reports, on Thursday, the undercover officers confiscated files from their desktop computers as well as written documentation which links the company to several locksmith scams that have been recently reported. While there are a few employees that are being questioned, we are aware that the General Manager has been arrested and charged with conspiracy and knowingly receiving stolen property.
We have later come to find out that there were several burglaries reported within a few days before the local police took certain actions from the media. There were complaints of break-ins to cars as well as homes throughout the day and night. People had seen groups of teenagers around their neighborhood's that were acting in suspicious ways. But it seems as though the community was told that everything will be ok and that they needed to let the police handle the situation.
Although the burglaries were all located in a general area, it seems to affect the entire world. An officer by the name of Justin Price was able to talk to us a little bit regarding this Florida epidemic. He stated that Bradenton was home to several of the personnel that were employed by Reliable Locksmith and Security. Even though there was a professional office for the locksmith business, some of the employees were operating from their homes answering phones and sending another employees who were at the office to do the job..
Florida Based Locksmith
Regardless of countless concerns that were being reported to the various government corporations, it required the combined time and effort within our national postal service, the Georgia state headquarters as well as the Bradenton sheriff's office to convince a judge to sign papers for a warrant. Once the formal papers were signed, the local authorities were able to take the next step in regulating a sting and to start making arrests. This company was able to get away with these scams for so long due to the Florida regulations regarding locksmith companies. Florida is only one of 40 states that does not have to be monitored or regulated to be a locksmith company.
Detectives charged Clayton Rhodes, the General Manager of Reliable Lock and Security, convicting him with federal postal theft. A sworn statement points out that Mr Rhodes, 33, and another associate Donald Stankos, 40, were the center of the illegal currency fraud sting that went through the federal mailing system. There is currently a warrant that was submitted for the arrest of Stankos on the charges of fraudulent checks and stolen credit cards.
The sworn statement also points to the managers who were overseeing up to 95 company workers, several of them which were working undercover to help bring down the company that was scamming people. The undercover agents had the duties of normal employees as well as try to conduct secret interviews with other associates to get more information against the company. Although it seemed to be a lengthy process, the investigation was coming to a close.
The investigation took several years and even though there were only a few confirmed convictions so far, we knew that there are several more convictions that are going to be taking place in the upcoming days. In addition to postal fraud there were also charges relating to credit fraud, money laundering and stolen checks.
The investigation will never be over stated Officer Price, as he was finishing a media interview. There will always be someone who will come forward with information. It is our job to take that information and apply it to our case.