A possible scam that nearly cost a Destrehan man more than $7,000 has the attention of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, but the man himself was able to retrieve his money thanks to an on-the-ball service from his bank.
Multiple instances have been reported of subjects going door to door soliciting roofing repair work to homeowners, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and targeting elderly citizens of the parish in order to overcharge them.
In one of three “alarmingly similar” incidents noted by the Sheriff’s Office, three Hispanic men driving a white work truck knocked on a Luling man’s door and told the man he needed roofing work done, then attempted to charge him $7,100 after it was completed. The price was not discussed beforehand, and the extent of the work done was allegedly spraying a black substance on the roof of the home, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Another incident saw the roofers allowed access to the interior of the home in order to inspect “roof damage.” After the men left without performing roof work, the home owner discovered a bottle of prescription medication was missing.
According to a Facebook post by the first victim’s daughter, Juli Aucoin, a man initially knocked on her father’s door asking for $30 to clean his gutters, and after doing so brought up that her father had a damaged roof that needed work. She also noted her father’s gutters were not visible from the street and that they were not cleaned out at all during the visit.
When one of the workers went to cash the check at First National Bank in Luling, the teller noticed that something was not right and the police were called.
Aucoin declined to comment as to not interfere with an open police investigation.
Audrey Champagne Raziano of First National Bank said the bank’s tellers keep a keen eye out for suspicious activity, and their familiarity with the bank’s clients can go a long way.
“Our tellers are very alert and aware of their customers and their normal activity,” Raziano said. “They do a really good job of catching things like this. Because they know our customers so well and were able to stop that transaction … we just felt something wasn’t right.”
The Sheriff’s Office has asked the public for any information that could lead to the identity of the subjects and also warned residents to proceed with caution when met with solicitors in similar situations.
“Reputable contractors typically do not go door to door looking for work, and would also give a written quote on a price prior to any work being done,” said Sheriff Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi. “In St. Charles Parish, anyone wishing to conduct door to door solicitation must have a permit issued to them.”
He also noted a parish ordinance that states any solicitation at a residence without possession of a valid solicitors permit is prohibited, and that solicitors must show their permit and photo identification on request by the resident.
The Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information on the incidents in question or to report any illegal door to door solicitation to call (985) 783-6807.