A Florida woman accused of renting a house that she didn’t own is behind bars.
Ewelina Drozd is facing a single charge of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.
Karey Whitfield told WFLA she unknowingly fell victim to the woman’s scheme. For weeks, she had been looking for a new place to rent with her husband and their teenage daughter. Then, a friend recommended Drozd.
Whitfield contacted Drozd, who had ads on social media showing off one of the houses available for rent.
The two met at a home on Magnolia Drive in Clearwater, Florida. Whitfield liked the house, but Drozd told her she had another home with the same rental price. It was a bit older, but it was bigger and had a pool.
Planning to surprise her family, Whitfield said she took them to their new home and was surprised herself.
She called Clearwater police. But she also remembered that she had taken a precaution when signing the paperwork, and it provided a key piece of evidence for investigators.
Rob Shaw, the public information officer with the Clearwater Police Department, warned that when you’re looking for a new place to rent, it may not be the best practice to seek out listings on social media.
Whitfield paid $1,800 for the first month’s rent and a security deposit. Investigators returned $1,600, saying Drozd spent $200 at Home Depot on a mini-refrigerator.
Police later arrested Drozd, whose bond was set at $5,000. Detectives said they are looking into the possibility that there may be additional victims.
She is currently awaiting trial, according to inmate records from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.