Man given a place to stay accused of thefts in Clermont neighborhood

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County deputies said they have arrested the man who is behind a rash of thefts in the Clermont area.

Investigators told WFTV a Clermont couple took in the man and gave him a place to stay. But it turns out he was allegedly stealing from them and their neighbors.

The suspect was staying with the couple on Pine Lake Street before his arrest and they said they feel hurt and betrayed.

"It was a major shock," victim Evan Finn said.

Evan Finn and his wife Elana couldn't believe it when they learned the man who had been living under their roof is accused of ripping off them and their neighbors.

"I feel really hurt because we let him into our house," Elana Finn said.

The Finns said they agreed to let Blake Johnson, an old friend of theirs, move in when he fell on hard times. They didn't suspect anything of Johnson because he was working two jobs. But when they hadn't seen him in a few days, they learned he was actually in jail.

"The detective called and said that he was incarcerated," Evan Finn said.

Officials said Johnson was caught in a stolen car and taken to jail. Once he was in custody, investigators said they were able to link him to multiple burglaries and car break-ins in the neighborhood.

Another victim, Mike Howell, had his wallet, credit cards and iPod stolen from his pickup truck.

"We didn't know who did it. We certainly never thought it was the guy living right next door to us," Howell said.

The Finns soon realized some of their stuff had been stolen too, including Elana Finn's necklace, which was a family heirloom.

"It was mine and I shouldn't have to worry about it in my own house," Elana Finn said.

Many of the stolen items were located and returned to their rightful owners. Johnson is being held at the Lake County jail.