Fugitive accused of bilking roommate
By ROBERT FARLEY
© St. Petersburg Times,
PALM HARBOR -- While living rent-free and caring for a Palm Harbor man who uses a wheelchair, Alexander Blaszczyk, 28, was systematically draining the man's checking account, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Blaszczyk was charged Wednesday with exploitation of a disabled adult.
Over a two-month period, Blaszczyk siphoned $12,251 from the man's checking account to buy, among other things, a cell phone and pro wrestling tickets, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita said Thursday. Detectives believed he also used the money to make car payments.
During the investigation, detectives learned Blaszczyk was a fugitive from Milwaukee, where he faced sentencing last month on charges that he and his girlfriend stole the identity of the girlfriend's mother and used it to make off with more than $23,000.
Randall Hallada, 51, of Palm Harbor told investigators he had moved to Florida from Milwaukee in April. He said he moved here with Blaszczyk, an acquaintance who lived with him rent-free in exchange for assisting him with his daily needs. Hallada uses a wheelchair due to a stroke, Tita said.
When Blaszczyk didn't return home one day, Hallada discovered that his ATM card was missing and that his checking account was short thousands of dollars. In his capacity as helper, Blaszczyk had access to Hallada's checking account and ATM card, Tita noted.
Detectives tracked down a cell phone number and arranged to meet with Blaszczyk to question him, but he never showed and later would not answer the cell phone, Tita said. Investigators later tracked him down when he showed up to work at a temporary placement nursing agency.
Tita said that when investigators questioned Blaszczyk about the money, he said he used it for his own benefit.
Because he is considered a fugitive from Milwaukee, Blaszczyk was being held without bond at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday.
A Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said Blaszczyk and his girlfriend misappropriated the identity of the girlfriend's mother to use her credit cards, obtain a loan in the woman's name and cash in her life insurance policies, resulting in more than $23,000 in theft. Blaszczyk was due to be sentenced in Milwaukee on June 5, said Capt. Sherry Weber.
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