House-sitter steals deployed soldier's identity, belongings

By Published: August 18, 2011

A North Carolina soldier's decision to ask a friend to house-sit during his deployment to Afghanistan led to a massive betrayal of trust that included identity theft, the fraudulent sale of possessions and the friend's death, according to police.

The Associated Press reported that Roberto Beharry asked Neil Phillips in May to mind his house. In early August, Beharry discovered that Phillips had put Beharry's house up for sale on the Internet.

A police investigation found that Phillips had sold dozens of items belonging to Beharry, including three cars, firearms and major appliances. So far, 118 items have been recovered, the AP said.

Phillips physically resembled Beharry and was reportedly using Beharry's photo ID to sell the items through Craigslist.

Phillips' body was found in a local cemetery as police were preparing warrants for his arrest, the story said. The circumstances of his death are under investigation.

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