GRINDSTONE, Pa. (KDKA) — A woman hired a man to install a water heater in her home, but he never did the work and stole her debit card, scamming her out of hundreds of dollars.
Karen Duvall’s mother needed a new hot water heater and she called B&M Electric, a company that she had a good experience with 15 years ago.
After paying about $750 for a tankless water heater, the work dragged on for three weeks, despite it only taking about a day or two on average.
“There was always something going on, somebody couldn’t come back, they had to come back and fix something, they had to come back to adjust it, so that just didn’t make sense to me,” said Karen Duvall.
They didn’t notice anything was truly wrong until they received a call from the bank.
“The bank actually called my mother and said somebody used your card at a gas station for $112,” Karen added.
That’s when things got worse.
“She looked in her purse to find her card and couldn’t find it,” Karen said. “From her checkbook to the checking account there were two checks that were actually missing.”
Karen and her mother immediately stopped payments, got a new bank card and when B&M Electric came back to the house to supposedly work on the hot water heater again, the fraudulent charges started again.
“She looked in her purse and found out that she had the old bank card was now back in her purse and the new bank card was gone,” Karen said. “He came back to the house, he took out the new card and put back the old card.”
Police have charged Michael Lucosh Jr. and his father, Michael Lucosh Sr. with several charges, including theft and home improvement fraud.
The home improvement fraud charges stem from when the Duvalls called another plumber to look at the work Lucosh and his father had done.
“He told us it was nothing but a plastic cover modem with pipes running through it,” Karen said. “She’d never have gotten hot water with that.”
“It was a wireless computer router, with wires capped off, it was actually hooked up to electricity that was not capped off, it could’ve been a fire hazard,” said State Police Trooper Robert Broadwater.
When asked about the charges, Michael Lucosh Sr. only had one thing to say: “Not guilty.”
Police are now worried there could be several additional victims.