Jonathan Yacketta, already awaiting trial on charges he exploited seven older customers of his water-treatment business, stole money from another one while out on bond, sheriff's detectives said.
The victim, an 88-year-old Palm Harbor woman, paid Yacketta $1,264 for water treatment equipment worth $150, the arrest report said.
The woman already owned an under-the-sink filtration system she bought from Yacketta, along with several lifetime warranties and service contracts.
All told, she has handed Yacketta $4,211 for equipment and services since 2005 —essentially paying over and over for the same thing, records in the case show.
"I should have said, 'Oh, no,'" the woman told News Channel 8, which is not using her name because she is vulnerable to victimization.
Yacketta was already back in jail by the time he was arrested in the latest theft. He had been free awaiting trial Aug. 30 in the earlier charges when a surety agent revoked his bond for undisclosed reasons.
Prosecutors said at a hearing in May they are seeking six years in prison for Yacketta, 32, who has acknowledged he was a prescription-drug addict.
Yacketta told a judge at the hearing that he blames his problems on News Channel 8, which first reported on his sales practices in September.
A consumer alert was issued as the first story was breaking by Pinellas County's director of utility operations. The alert warned about companies offering expensive systems, unsolicited visits and gifts, and water testing that solidifies harmless minerals.
Prosecutors said one of Yacketta's victims is 98-year-old Howard Chapel. Yacketta, in an August interview, told a reporter he was trying to help Chapel by selling him thousands of dollars in equipment because "the water is not healthy for people to drink."
Using scare tactics used to sell pricey filtration systems is illegal under Florida Law.
In the latest case, the Palm Harbor woman said Yacketta's girlfriend, 32-year-old Tracy Bennett, drove him to her condo and tinkered with some sticky keys on her piano while Yacketta installed new equipment under the kitchen sink.
The woman told Yacketta she was impressed by Bennett, a college-educated woman who works in medical sales and owns a townhouse in Tampa.
"I said to him, 'Where did you find such a nice gal',
Yacketta asked the Palm Harbor woman to write checks for his work payable to Bennett, who cashed them immediately, the woman said.
On Saturday, the day after Yacketta's latest arrest, Bennett called the woman, she said. Bennett offered to come back and clean the carpet, which was stained when Yacketta's plumbing work leaked.
The woman didn't take her up on the offer. She was going on a trip.
"It was still wet when I left," she said. "I told the good Lord I'm not going to think about any of this when I'm gone."
The woman said Bennett also made a request during that call: "She said maybe you could get the charges dropped."
Bennett couldn't be reached for comment. News Channel 8 left messages for her on her phone and made visits to her Tampa townhouse.
Bennett has not been charged with any crimes.
The Palm Harbor woman said it took Detective Steve Bingham, who has been on Yacketta's trail since last fall, to get her dishwasher running again after Yacketta finished his work.
Bingham was visiting her as part of his investigation, taking pictures of the treatment system.
"I gave him a hug and said, 'Thank God I don't have to buy a new dishwasher.'"
Six years after she first hired him, the woman said she'll be doing no more business with Yacketta.
"I don't want to see him."