Consumer Alerts & Tips

World Series Ring Among Property Recovered In Burglary Bust

           (WFTV) 04/11/07-ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Orange County investigators have arrested two men, who were

using a new tactic to burglarize homes without leaving a trace. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen property,

including a Florida Marlins World Series ring, was recovered.


             Investigators believe the men used what's called a bump key, a locksmith tool that basically works as a master key to open doors. The men are suspected of targeting apartment complexes across Florida over several years and ripping people off.

Orange County detectives couldn't believe how much stuff they recovered from the home of 35-year-old Ramon Rivera.

"It's a boatload. It's overwhelming," said Det. Craig Fulton, Orange County Sheriff's Office


             All of it, $80,000 worth, was believed to be stolen. Investigators said the men used a bump key to break into condos and high-end apartments across the state. Since the locksmith's tool shows no signs of forced entry, investigators were baffled, until surveillance video from a gas station captured the suspected thieves shortly after a heist.


             "The credit card stolen from those burglaries were used to pump gas into this Lincoln," Fulton said.

Hours later, Rivera was spotted buying hot wings with the same credit card. This past February, investigators caught another break. Police in New Smyrna pulled over the white Lincoln near another burglary. Ramon and his brother Carlos were in the car. They were ID'd, but not arrested.

That's when investigators started following them, finally getting a warrant Thursday, and raiding the home on Dean Point Place in Orlando.

"The first thing we noticed was a plasma television in every room," Fulton said.


             Investigators found hundreds of watches, video games, CDs and DVDs. Ramon was arrested on spot. Carlos was arrested at his home in Poinciana. Now, investigators are left to figure out whom all the stuff belongs to and who else might be involved in pulling off the same kind of crimes.



Below are links to various news outlets, consumer protection agencies and state Attorney General offices addressing the issue of "phony locksmiths". The story is familiar in many states: an out-of-state company hires a number of unscrupulous individuals in the area to sub-contract its work using assumed business names, fake addresses and phone numbers. Many times consumers have been over-sold, under serviced, or just plain lied to!

The Illinois Attorney General filed criminal charges against a New York locksmith operation for setting up phony storefronts with unlicensed individuals practicing locksmithing that lead consumers to believe they were dealing with local companies. The action was successful, and the company was ordered to pay thousands in restitution, to cease operations and to no longer do business in the state under a new name or any of the 25 different names the company had been using in local telephone directories!

ALOA encourages locksmiths who are facing this same situation to go to their state's Attorney General who can take the appropriate legal action against these fraudulent companies. ALOA recently sent a letter to all Attorneys General urging them to pursue this matter in their state. For a copy of that letter, Click Here . To contact your state's Attorney General, go to Click Here .

ALOA is also empowering you to take immediate action when these fraudulent operations show up in your city. Click Here for a Press Release that you may send to your local print and broadcast news media outlets. Make sure you put in the date and the name of your city in the highlighted areas.

For further assistance, contact ALOA Legislative Manager, Tim McMullen at 214-819-9733 x300 or


Click here to view the Phony Locksmith Press Room with various reports of Phony Locksmiths