Florida Keys

Couple invited handyman to church. He stayed home and ripped them off, cops say

Christopher Kehler
Christopher Kehler

A Key Largo handyman accused of stealing $6,000 from his client in March was picked up on a warrant this week in Key West on grand theft and burglary charges.

Christopher Kehler, 46, has been on the run ever since his mother said she checked him into a Miami clinic last March. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office redacted the description of the clinic.

The woman for whom Kehler worked, who is a landlord, told detectives $6,000 in rent money from her tenants that she kept in a drawer in her home went missing in mid-March, and Kehler was the only person with access to the home.

The landlord, Elwyn Ballard, told detectives Kehler admitted to her on March 18 that he took the money. She and her husband invited Kehler to go to church with them that day, but he never showed up., according to sheriff’s office reports.

Police say they think that’s when he stole the money.

Kehler appears to have skipped town after that, Detective Julio Alvarez wrote in his report. Detectives asked Ballard if she would call him so they could record him admitting to taking the money. The call to his cellphone went straight to voicemail, Alvarez stated.

Detectives contacted Kehler’s mother in June and she told them she hadn’t seen him since she dropped him off at the clinic and had not heard from him since April.

Kehler was arrested by Key West police on Monday. He’s being held on $25,000 bond.