QUEENS — A scammer stole thousands of dollars from a pair of homeowners by saying he would repair their properties on the cheap before disappearing with their down payments, police said.
The suspect, who robbed at least two residents, introduced himself as James in both cases and offered to do repair work on driveways and retaining walls for a discount, said Deputy Inspector Robert Ramos, commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, who warned Forest Hills residents to be on the lookout for fraudster.
In both scams, the man randomly knocked on people’s doors and offered to do repairs for about $6,000, significantly less than what other companies would ask for the same work, police said. He then requested $2,000 as a down payment from both victims.
“He promised to start the next day, and that’s the last time they saw him,” Ramos said of the suspect, who is described as being in his late 40s or early 50s.
Both victims live around the corner from each other in the Cord-Meyer section of the neighborhood. The first incident on Aug. 23 occurred on 112th Street, between Jewel Avenue and 69th Road, followed by the second on Aug. 25 on 69th Road, between 110th and 112th streets, police said.
"If someone is coming, knocking on your door and offering to do work for you, just say, 'No, thank you,' and if you have to, call 911," Ramos said.