Saturday, May 18, 2013
FREEPORT — Freeport police are investigating a tree-cutting scam that may be connected to a similar caper in South Bristol last month.
An elderly man in the area of Lower Flying Point Road was approached by a group of five young men who said they were cutting trees in the area and offered to take down some trees for him, said Officer Matt Moorhouse.
The men, who had large equipment like a wood chipper as well as business cards, spent about four hours on the property last week but only cut about two-dozen tree limbs, "something you would have paid your 15-year-old nephew to do," Moorhouse said.
They then demanded about $5,000 from the homeowner, a check they immediately cashed, Moorhouse said. The incident happened Oct. 3.
Moorhouse said he is working to identify a suspect and believes the caper could be by the same group that bilked a 99-year-old South Bristol man out of $2,700. That case was reported to police at the end of September. On Oct. 5, two days after the Freeport incident, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office released a photograph of a suspect cashing the $2,700 check.
Moorhouse said the scam has probably taken in many more victims. People often do not report it to police, though they should because it can help prevent other people from being victimized, he said. Police can alert other residents through the media.