3 On Your Side

Father, son say unlicensed contractor vanished with 'man cave' money

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Steve Oestreich and his son, Ryan, just purchased a spacious commercial garage in Mesa. And although it doesn't look like much now, it's about to become their man cave.

"Well, yeah, it's a hideout. Don't tell the wife that," Steve Oestreich jokingly says.

The Oestreichs purchased the garage so they can restore vehicles. In fact, they showed 3 On Your Side numerous pictures of antique vehicles they're going to work on soon.

However, their first order of business was the man cave needed a bathroom.

So, they hired a business called Cross Town Electric, Heating and Cooling ran by a guy named Brett Roberts.

"We felt like he was a good, hard worker," the elder Oestreich told us. "He was recommended. ... He told us he was a commercial contractor. So, we said, 'Yeah! Let's go ahead and do the deal.' So that's how we got started with him."

The Oestreichs gave Roberts a check for $2,000, which was half the amount to install and finish that bathroom.

"He cashed the check the day we wrote it," Steve Oestreich said.

But cashing the check is about all he did because the Oestreichs say Roberts never showed up the day he was supposed to start.

"He didn't start that day, so we contacted him and he said, 'Oh, I'll start the next day. Something came up.' And then it was like, 'I'll start the next day. Something came up.' And for the last four weeks, it's always been, 'I'll start tomorrow. Just give me one more chance,' " a disgusted Steve Oestreich said.

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered Roberts has been in and out of trouble for years and was just recently released from adult probation.

He's also not licensed by the state as required by law.

So, I went to his Chandler apartment complex to see why he took $2,000 and disappeared with the money. A man answered the door and claimed Roberts wasn't home. However, 3 On Your Side left a message asking that he calls us immediately.

Well, Roberts didn't call, but he wrote me an email saying, "I will be giving them their money back some time this week."

Well, that sounds promising, but 3 On Your Side has heard it before.

Regardless, 3 On Your Side will wait to see if the money is refunded and if it is, we will air an update and let you know.

For now, Steve Oestreich says he's frustrated and disgusted.

"I want my money back. I'm done with the guy," he said.

In the meantime, it's a good idea to remember to always hire a licensed contractor because you have some protection from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. That protection includes getting your money refunded from the agency's recovery fund.

Also, try not to hand over any money or down payment in advance.

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