7 On Your Side: Customer says contractor stole her jewelry

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Trusting contractors and the companies they work for
Nina Pineda has 7 on your Side.

FRANKLIN (WABC) -- It's a huge leap of faith to letting people you don't know do work inside your home, as you are trusting them and the companies that employ them. So how do you know they aren't criminals?

One woman had thousands in jewelry stolen from her home while workers were there, and when she learned about the employee's criminal history, she was shocked.

And even more troubling was that the company who put him in the home, at first, wouldn't reimburse her losses.

Angela Puglis hid her collection of jewelry in a night stand, but the legal secretary says her antique gold rings, chains and charms all vanished while contractors from Servpro were cleaning water damage.

"Servrpo was here to take care of the plumbing problem with the water, which had gone everywhere," she said.

Her insurance agent had hired Servpro, a nationwide company, for the clean up job. But she says she got cleaned out instead.

Servpro admitted an employee -- 28-year-old Brett Hosking -- who was working in Angela's house was arrested and charged with theft and possession of stolen property from a different Servpro customer.

"He had went into a house that had fire damage and removed several pieces of jewelry that didn't belong to him," Franklin police detective Nevin Mattessich said.

Hoskings pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods, and detectives said they recovered some of their victim's stolen items from a pawn shop. But none of that jewelry belonged to Angela, and Hosking was never charged in her case.

"Because I couldn't prove that it was him that took it," she said.

Servpro's insurance denied her claim.

In December, Hosking was arrested again, this time for burglarizing Servpro's office, where he had been fired from months before.

"There, he did burglarize," Mattessich said. "He forced entry and removed $15,000 to $20,000 worth of merchandise."

Hosking has a rap sheet that goes back a decade and includes theft, drugs and resisting arrest. Servpro's owner admitted he did a background check and decided to hire Hosking anyway.

"He shouldn't have been working for Servpro in the first place," Angela said.

Servpro's owner says he was trying to give Hosking a second chance and got burned. But after Eyewitness News got involved, the Servpro franchise owner reimbursed Angela for the full amount of her stolen jewelry, more than $18,000.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "Seven On Your Side, thank you. Thank you very much. Because this never would've happened."

Servpro states they require all their franchises to perform background checks on employees prior to employment, and after Hosking was arrested last summer, he was terminated by the company.

Hosking plead not guilty to burglarizing his former employer. His case goes before front of a grand jury in May.

The takeaway is that it's a good idea to store valuables in a safe place, possibly even out of house if you have work done in your home. And take pictures of your jewelry in case it ever goes missing.