ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Elizabethtown Police Department is warning homeowners of a driveway repair scam making its way through the community.
Officer John Thomas said a man in his 20s is approaching homeowners and offering to patch or repair their driveways for a bargain price.
“With spring time comes warmer weather, sunshine and home improvement scams,” Thomas said.
The man is going by the name Pierre O’Hare or Pierre O’Hara and is driving a white pickup truck with South Carolina license plates. Thomas said the man could be part of a team of out-of-town scammers hitting the area.
Of the several reports made to Elizabethtown Police, one homeowner fell for the scam. The woman said the man approached her home with a young child and rang the doorbell. He offered to patch the cracks in the 500-foot driveway for $400, but he settled for $250 in cash up front.
“That is a giveaway,” Thomas said. “Scammers will ask for it upfront. They’re not going to do what they’ve been contracted to do, or they’re going to do a shoddy job.”
The homeowner said the man mixed up a liquid, poured it in some of the cracks, and left after an hour. It dried, but after a few hours, it turned white. Days later, it had completely evaporated and turned the driveway a rusty brown color around the cracks. The man left a business card for a professional paint company and wrote his name and phone number on the back. The homeowner called that number.
“He did answer,” Thomas said. “He did apologize. He said he would be right out to fix the job, but then didn’t show up.”
That cellphone number has now been disconnected. Police officers called the business number, and the owners said they had never heard of an employee by that name.
The homeowner admitted to police that if the scammer didn’t have the little child with him, she wouldn’t have answered the door. Thomas said this is a common tactic for scammers. They will bring a young child or a spouse to lower your defenses. A person is more likely to open a door to a man and a child than to just a strange man.
Thomas said these scammers often travel as teams, hitting out-of-town locations and then speeding off to the next before getting caught. But they do their homework before coming to town. Thomas said they will often buy burner cellphones with local area codes, so you’re more likely to pick up. He said they will also look up local names and addresses and mention a fake review from a familiar name in the city.
The scammers will also pressure you to make a decision quickly, so that you do not have time to fully research them. But Thomas said it is critical you ask for proof of their business license and workman’s comp insurance, both requirements to do business in Kentucky.
If you encounter the recent scammer, call Elizabethtown Police at (270)-765-4125.
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