St. Louis, Mo., April 10, 2013 - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising consumers to be cautious about doing business with Molly Maid of Chesterfield after prosecutors charged an owner of the franchise with breaking into a customer’s apartment.
The owner, Bryan P. Frantz, is awaiting trial on a felony charge of first-degree burglary. According to a police report, residents of a Ballwin apartment building confronted Frantz after he entered the apartment uninvited and began rummaging through items in the kitchen.
Entry to the apartment was obtained using a stolen key, the police report said. One resident told the BBB she believes Frantz may have entered the residence by using a key copied from a key the family left in a lockbox on cleaning days. Frantz denies the allegations, saying that the door was unlocked and that he had confused the family’s apartment with another property he was supposed to inspect for an estimate.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said that while most cleaning service personnel are trustworthy, the Ballwin incident highlights potential problems with giving strangers access to your home.
“Anytime you let anyone into your home unsupervised, you are taking a risk,” Corey said. “But there are precautions you can take to minimize that risk.”
While reports of burglary and theft involving home service workers are not particularly common, the BBB does receive occasional complaints.
Last month, a woman in Kirkwood told the BBB she believes cleaning workers from a different St. Louis maid service stole two rings from her home. The woman said the owner of that company told her that an employee who had been to her home was fired after another customer reported a theft.
Molly Maid of Chesterfield is registered with the Missouri secretary of state under the name Molly Maid of Wildwood, West Chesterfield and North Franklin County. Frantz Services LLC of Washington, Mo., is listed as the owner. Richard Bryan Frantz of Washington and Jason Richard Frantz of St. Louis are listed as organizers of Frantz Services.
The Chesterfield Molly Maid franchise has an “F” rating with the BBB, the lowest possible, based on customer complaint activity.
Information supplied to the BBB by the Molly Maid franchise lists Bryan P. Frantz and Richard Frantz as co-owners. A woman who answered the phone at Molly Maid of Chesterfield told a BBB investigator last week that all questions about the business should be directed to Bryan Frantz. She described Bryan Frantz as manager of the firm.
A resident of the Ballwin apartment said she was working from home on a Friday afternoon in late February when she heard someone come through her front door. She said she initially believed it was her husband, who had been napping with their young son in a bedroom of the apartment.
She became increasingly suspicious after hearing someone rummaging through kitchen cabinets. She said she confronted Frantz as he was inspecting her husband’s prescription medication. He initially said he was there to do work at the apartment, but when she told him no work had been scheduled, he ran from the building.
Police arrested Frantz several minutes later after tracks in the snow led them to a concrete sewer opening in the area. Police found Frantz hiding in the sewer pipe.
At the time of the arrest, Frantz’s Molly Maid vehicle was still parked in front of the apartment. The woman said her husband identified Frantz as the Molly Maid representative who had come to the home for a walk-through before the company was hired.
The woman said the company had cleaned the home four or five times in the past year. Each time, workers got access through a key placed in a coded lockbox on the door.
“He didn’t take anything or hurt anybody,” the woman said. “My concern is whether he had done this before, or could do it again.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said.
She said that she and her husband will need to reassess how to give workers access to the apartment while they are gone.
Frantz told the BBB that his arrest stemmed from a misunderstanding. He said he was intending to go to the home or business of a Ballwin architect to give him estimates on carpet cleaning or a move out. “I wrote down the wrong address,” he said.
Frantz said he walked into the apartment without announcing himself. He said he immediately went into the kitchen to search for a drinking glass in order to get a glass of water. He denied inspecting the medications, saying that they simply were in the area where he was looking for a glass. He said he fled after the resident grabbed onto him and began screaming.
“I was scared. What was I supposed to do?” he said.
He said he remains manager of the business.
Frantz’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 30 in St. Louis County.
The BBB offers the following tips on giving workers access to your home:
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org
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