In Sharonville, Ohio, police are looking for a sham home improvement business operator. Instead of providing elderly individuals with upgrades to their homes, Brice Ryan and his accomplices would take their money and run, often scamming them out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The most recent scam victim was an elderly woman. She says that a group of workers came to her home and told her that her chimney needed repairs. After telling her it would be $25, five guys came and gave her a bill for $1,700. Luckily, her family was able to stop the payment before it went through. “It’s really bad when people have to do that to the elderly,” said the woman’s son, Mark Conry. “She’s worked so hard her whole life to save up this amount and get a retirement.”
Police have linked that case to the case of an 85-year-old man who was cheated out of $5,000 last month, as well as an 88-year-old man who was convinced to give them a blank check to pay for $440 in branch cutting services — they cashed the check for $4,400. In another case, several supposed home improvement workers got up on a roof and sprayed black tar — which can actually damage roofs. They then went to the homeowner and pressured her to pay up for their “improvements.”
There are multiple suspects and police are currently searching for them. Brice Ryan was caught on camera at a fifth third bank branch. So far, there have been at least five elderly victims in the local area, but likely more that have not been reported. “All of the people that we believe have been approached are specifically approached because they are elderly,” says Sgt. Ryan Hermes, of the Sharonville Police Department.
“Always be cautious of professionals that knock or your door. Ask for a business card, references, or call the Better Business Bureau. This will allow you to be sure you are paying a professional for legitimate services.” says Carl Griffenkranz, VP of Marketing at Granite Transformations.