Local News

Chatham County Woman Deceived In Home Repair Scam

Posted February 14, 2000

— Police need your help to solve a home repair ripoff. Detectives say three men caught one woman by surprise and took more than $22,000 of her money.

Two men originally estimated the work at the woman's home to cost $1,700.

"They did some painting for this lady and some type of house repair which probably would have amounted to $1,000," says Chief Deputy Issac Gray of the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.

A few days later, another man came by and demanded money for alleged roof repairs he made 11 years ago. Then, the first two men came back, saying they overcharged her and asked her to cut another check, and they would send the original one back.

The men did not send the check back, and they ended up scamming the 83-year-old woman for more than $22,000.

"They're definitely people who apparently do not have a conscience and they can take advantage of someone at that age or anybody," Gray says.

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for James Rush, who was last seen in Southern Pines three weeks ago with his partners. Authorities are also looking for Mike MacGowan. A third man has not been identified yet.

Chief Deputy Gray has some advice for people to avoid being scammed.

"If they can't show you references or tell you someone they have done work for that you can pick up the phone to call, I suggest you tell them to hit the trail because they are there for no good," Gray says.

The woman was so scared by the incident that she has moved out of her house and is moving into an apartment in town.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Chatham County Crimestoppers at(919) 542-6116.


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