GULFPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT
MEDIA NEWS RELEASE
                                                                 
Lt. Howard Coombs
Public Information Officer
727-893-1030

11/5/09   Gulfport and State Investigators Charge Unlicensed Contractors in Sting Operation
 
Gulfport, Florida – Investigators from the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional and Regulation and the Gulfport Police Department have been working jointly to enforce violations of Florida’s unlicensed contracting law.
 
During the dates of November 2nd to November 4, 2009, Gulfport Police Department detectives conducted a sting operation with members of the State of Florida Department of Business And Professional Regulation (DBPR). The operation was targeted towards unlicensed contractors/professionals. On 11/04/09, the detectives and members of the DBPR conducted the detail using a residence in the City of Gulfport. Seven unlicensed contractors showed up at a condominium unit and were taken into custody without incident. Three were issued Notices to Appear (NTA) and one was transported to the Pinellas County Jail due to violation of felony probation. One contractor was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
 
This detail was done to ensure contractors working in Gulfport are properly trained and licensed, as well as to ensure that they do not prey on our community by taking money and doing poor quality work or no work at all.
 
During the detail, the undercover “homeowner” responded to ads posted by unlicensed handymen in local papers. They were asked to remodel a bathroom by removing a wall in a 1st floor condominium in a 55 and over community.  The problem was the wall was a load-bearing wall and none of the contractors who estimated the job indicated it would be a safety hazard to remove this wall. This is just one of many reasons why the public should be using properly licensed contractors and having their work inspected.  
 
The violations were videotaped for evidentiary value, and this video may be made available upon request to media outlets. The operation took place at 2900 45th Street South, The Gulf Shores Condominiums in Gulfport.
 
Persons charged:
   
Harkness, Perry Houston
2321 Dartmouth Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL  
 
Herbert, Robert W
6515 Bayshore Blvd Apt 16, Tampa, FL      
      
Blair, Tony Alan         
2045 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL
 
Marsic, Robert J. Jr
4349 Wallace Cir., Tampa, FL
 
Collazos, Helman
112 Westminster Blvd, Oldsmar, FL
 
Collazos, Jose H.
112 Westminster Blvd, Oldsmar, FL
 
Tran, Minh Mgoc
4998 71st Way N, Pinellas Park, FL