Search underway for St. Pete antique thief seen crawling around store, stealing $18K worth of items

Police in St. Petersburg said they need the public’s help finding a man who they said stole close to $18,000 worth of items from a family-owned antique shop.

Andrea LeGrant, who owns Andrea and Friends Antique Mall on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street North, said a man hid under a table until the store closed at 5 p.m. on Nov. 11. The owners said he was there for about an hour and a half before the store closed.

Surveillance video shows the man then crawling through the store and taking items from the display cases.

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"It was mostly sterling silver," LeGrant said. "He left two pieces that had concrete in them, because he couldn't get any money for those. And he took a bunch of fountain pens that were silver, Montblanc, other things like that, and he just rifled through the cases and got the better things that he could find."

Police describe the man in the surveillance video as a white 55 to 65-year-old, six feet tall with a heavy build, bow-legged and officers say he walks with a "distinctive waddle." He was wearing black-rimmed glasses, a black USF Bulls baseball hat, tan cargo shorts, a white and gray plaid short-sleeve shirt, gray New Balance sneakers and white socks on Nov. 11.

"It was so creepy. He was creepin’. He was crawling. He knew exactly how to avoid everything," LeGrant said.

She said the man was trying to avoid their motion detectors, and doesn’t think this was his first heist.

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"He knew exactly what to look for in the sterling. He knew what was good and what he wouldn't make enough money on. He knew," LeGrant said.

She said other antique shop owners in the area told her they recognize the man in the video, and said he may have stolen from them too. St. Petersburg police said while that may be possible, they can’t confirm that. 

LeGrant said they’ve since installed infrared motion detectors throughout the store. Those are in addition to the cameras and other motion detectors in the shop.

"It kind of makes me angry a little bit. It's just a frustrating feeling," LeGrant said. "You just have to take a little loss and that's ok. We just want him caught, so he doesn't do it to anybody else."

Anyone with information about the man is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780, or text SPPD + your tip to TIP411.