Unlicensed contractor in jail after 3 On Your Side confrontation

By Jim Carr

MESA, Ariz. -- Erika Arvizu simply wanted to update her kitchen by getting new cabinets installed. The job was going to cost around $1,500.

Three months ago, she hired a guy by the name of Benancio Reyes to the do the work.

However, she says after paying Reyes $1,500 up front, he took her money and did absolutely no work.

Not only that, she says Reyes ran off with her money and is in hiding. A tearful Arvizu tells 3 On Your Side, "He stole my money. He took off. That's why I am really sad."

Reyes asked 3 On Your Side to find Reyes and help get her money back.

When 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper caught up with Reyes, the unlicensed contractor took off and ran into the house where he stays.

"Benancio, why are you running? It's not nice to hide," Harper yells as Reyes ducks into the home.

We tried to talk to Benancio, but he wouldn't open the door.

"You might want to take care of that warrant, Benancio," Harper says.

Benancio Reyes didn't know it at the time, but he had an arrest warrant stemming from another case where he allegedly contracted without a license.

The warrant was enough to pique Reyes' curiosity and he finally opened the door to explain what happened to Erika's money.

"I tell you this. It's a civil court, it's a civil matter," Reyes explains.

Harper replies, "You're already in trouble for contracting without a license, so it's a criminal matter now. It's not a civil."

But, Benancio explains that he's the victim, saying Erika paid him $280 to tear out the cabinets and then refused to pay him anymore.

Harper asked, "And you're like, if you're not going to give me money for the cabinets, then I have to walk away?

Reyes replies, "I have to walk off the job. She left to Mexico. I had no money left to do anything, so what could I do?"

Erika later told us that Reyes' explanation is untrue. She gave us a receipt earlier with several cash payments totaling $1,500. Money she says was given to Reyes.

Even though Reyes stuck to his story, it was too late because after my conversation with Reyes, police picked him up on that warrant I told him about.

He was booked into jail for previously contracting without a license and driving on a suspended driver's license for a previous DUI.

Arvizu says she realizes she'll probably never get her money back, but knowing Reyes is in jail she says is somewhat satisfying and she thanked 3 On Your Side

As for Reyes, he remains in jail. He will be there for the next ten days because he was caught driving on a suspended license and did not care of the violation.

He's due back in court later to answer for the charge of contracting without a license.

Recommended for you