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Sarasota News Leader November 15, 2013 Page 82 "We have two detectives who work on this full-time because unlicensed contractors undercut legitimate professionals and put citizens at risk," said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. "Installation by unlicensed contractors also voids the warranty, so these victims spent thousands of dollars for a product that may not be covered if it fails." When hiring a contractor, the Sarasota County Building Department recommends people take the following steps: • Get a signed, detailed contract that spells out the work to be done, when, and for how much. • Ask for local references and check them. • Verify the company's reputation with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. James Sohol/Contributed photo • Ask to see the contractor's license and ver- If you think someone is acting as an unlicensed ify its status. To check a Sarasota County contractor contact the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department license, call 861-6126. of Business and Professional Regulation or visit • Do not make a large down payment, and do not pay in full until the work is complete. Pages/ContractorLicensing.aspx. SHERIFF'S OFFICE PROVIDES TIPS TO SAFEGUARD AGAINST BURGLARIES With the Suncoast enjoying cooler weather minimal, but the benefits are tremendous," overnight, many residents are sleeping with the release says. their windows open. An open window can be • While track locks are strongly recoman open invitation for burglars, so the Sarasota mended, inexpensive wooden dowels can County Sheriff's Office is offering crime preblock horizontal sliding windows from vention tips to help keep residents safe: opening too far. Pins inserted through the • Be sure the windows you choose to open frames of vertical sliding windows and are not next to a door, "to minimize the doors can also keep them in place. chance someone could remove the screen to reach inside and open the door," a news • Should your home be outfitted with an alarm system, consider the addition of wired release notes. screens that enable you to protect those • Secondary locking devices allow you to window openings and detect intruders. leave windows open enough for ventilation but block them from being opened any • "Finally, whenever you leave the house, close and lock all possible entry points," wider. These products can be purchased the release concludes. at home improvement stores. "The cost is

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