3 On Your Side

Desert Hills homeowners targeted by 'handyman'

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After paying an unknown handyman $400, he never returned to start the job and that infuriated Linda and Mike Coleman. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) After paying an unknown handyman $400, he never returned to start the job and that infuriated Linda and Mike Coleman. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Nextdoor is a website and app that allows users to connect with people who strictly live in their area.  When the Colemans combed through the site they couldn't believe what they found. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Nextdoor is a website and app that allows users to connect with people who strictly live in their area. When the Colemans combed through the site they couldn't believe what they found. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Linda Coleman says when she was trimming her trees recently, the strangest thing happened. A guy showed up out of the blue claiming to be a handyman and he was needing some work.

"And, he says, 'I do just about everything',” Coleman said. “And he said, 'Can I trim your tree?' And I said 'no because I like doing it myself. But my husband is looking to put in a spiral staircase in the back,' and he said, 'I can do that,'” Coleman recalled.

Her husband Mike was home at the time and says the stranger seemed eager to put in that spiral staircase for them. The couple was quoted $1,500 for the job.

“He said he could do just about everything," Mike said. 

"He wanted $400 for materials. And, yes he wanted to cash," Mike chuckled.

But after paying the unknown handyman $400, he never returned to start the job and that infuriated this couple.

So, they turned to social media to investigate.

"Well, my neighbor back over here was telling me about a website called Nextdoor and she got me interested in it," Coleman said.

Nextdoor is a website and app that allows users to connect with people who strictly live in their area.

When the Colemans combed through the site they couldn't believe what they found. There were pictures of the very guy who duped them out of their money. Apparently, almost a half dozen other neighbors on Nextdoor complained they were swindled too and some even had pictures of the guy with their home security equipment.

When shown a photo and asked if it was the same man, Coleman said, "Oh yes, and they have posted pictures of him and one woman even has video."

Neighbors on Nextdoor even discovered the so-called handyman gave out business cards with completely different names to keep from getting caught.

One says Brothers Landscaping and the other says Joseph Landscaping. The names are different, but the phone number is the exact same.

That phone number is now disconnected and there's no way to know who the guy people are posting on Nextdoor really is.

As a result, the Colemans and other neighbors have filed a sheriff's report. People living in nearby Tramonto have also filed criminal reports with Phoenix police.

They hope the guy posted on their Nextdoor community site will finally be caught and say the power of Nextdoor has opened their eyes.

"If he's getting $400 from me and $400 from five other people, then hey that's a house payment to people like me,” Linda said shaking her head.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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