Detectives are looking for victims of a suspected unlicensed contractor who is believed to have been conning people in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The suspect, Richard Bannister, 52, was arrested Jan. 13 on suspicion of grand theft, said Shirley Miller, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, in a phone interview Tuesday.
Detectives now believe Bannister has more victims out in the public and they are distributing his picture in hopes of finding them.
“He’s been charged with five felonies and two misdemeanors,” said Miller.
According to the detectives on the case, Bannister is believed to be the ex-employee of a licensed construction company. Without a license, he is believed to have approached alleged victims, leaning on the credibility of his previous employer.
“The investigation alleges Bannister collected a majority of the total cost of each project prior to beginning work,” said a sheriff’s news release on Tuesday. “Bannister would then never return to complete the job despite multiple messages, emails and phone calls from frustrated clients.”
Miller said Bannister at least once stole from a senior citizen who paid him more than $30,000 for work he never finished. Bannister reportedly has another victim who paid him up front for work that was never completed. She was refunded some of her money, but the check given to her by Bannister reportedly bounced.
“Not only was Bannister allegedly taking payment for construction work that was never completed, but he also stands accused of selling appliances for a discounted price, and never delivering the product,” said the sheriff’s press release. “Bannister offered to sell a refrigerator retailing for $7,000 at a discounted rate of $4,500. The victim wrote him a check. However, the appliance never arrived.”
Bannister is described as a white man, 52 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and approximately 250 pounds. He is believed to possibly have victims in both the SCV and San Fernando Valley, Miller said.
Potential victims or witnesses can call the SCV Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.