LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Police officers arrested a 45-year-old Nacogdoches man on Thursday in connection to allegations that he was paid $5,000 to roof, level, and paint a house on Champions Drive in May 2013, but the work wasn't done, and the money still hadn't been paid back as of June 1.
Don Edward Tucker is also accused of stealing $900 cash from the home owner's counter.
"I trusted him," said homeowner Thomas Goodman. "I thought he was a good person."
Tucker is still being held in the Angelina County jail on a state-jail felony charge of theft between $1,500 and $20,000. Tucker's bail has been set at $3,500.
According to the arrest affidavit, the home owner went to the Lufkin Police Department to report the theft on May 27, 2013. He told an LPD detective he talked to that he had hired Tucker to re-roof, level, and paint his house, which is located in the 4200 block of Champions Drive.
"I'm kind of disappointed in myself for paying to have work done in advance," Goodman said.
Goodman told police that he and Tucker had agreed on a total price of $12,000, according to the affidavit. Tucker then allegedly asked for an advance in the amount of $7,000, so he could purchase the materials needed to complete the job.
According to the affidavit, Goodman said that he left the “pay to the order of” portion of the check blank, so Tucker could go to a lumber yard of his choice. Goodman also said that Tucker gave him the bill of sale to a back hoe to hold as collateral. Later, the complainant found out that the back hoe was registered under someone else's name, the affidavit stated.
Goodman told the detective that Tucker came back and asked if he could have cash for half of the up-front money because he was unable to cash the $7,000 because the home owner wasn't present when he tried to do so.
“The pay to the order of line on the check had been filled in with Tucker's name instead of a lumber company or building materials company, and it appeared Don Tucker had tried to cash the check somewhere other than at Lowe's or a building material company,” the affidavit stated.
At that point, Goodman gave Tucker four cash installments totaling $5,000, the affidavit stated. The complainant also told the LPD detective that some had made a $466.12 purchase at a Cellular One store in Conroe by ACH debit charge by using the routing and account number from Goodman's bank account.
When Goodman confronted Tucker about the cell phone charge, Tucker allegedly admitted to it and said that his daughter had used the numbers by mistake and that he would take care of it.
Later, Tucker called the home owner from the Lowe's in Conroe and asked for his credit card number, so he could buy additional materials for the job, the affidavit stated. The complainant provided the number, and Lowe's authorized the purchase. However, the items weren't itemized.
According to the affidavit, the materials were delivered to Goodman's home, but Tucker never returned to complete the roofing project. In addition, Goodman told the LPD detective that some of the items were wrong, including a chest freezer that the man hadn't authorized.
The LPD detective told the home owner that he needed to file charges for the cell phone store purchase in Conroe.
In addition, the complainant told the detective that Tucker stole cash from his residence, the affidavit stated. When Tucker came to the residence to take a look before he started the job, he went inside the home and asked for a flashlight.
Goodman told the LPD detective that he left the room to get a flashlight and forgot that he had left $900 in cash on the counter. When Tucker left the home a short time later, Goodman allegedly realized that the $900 was missing.
According to the affidavit, after all of that took place, Goodman questioned whether or not Tucker had actually gotten a building permit like he had said. He checked with the City of Lufkin and found that Tucker had never gotten a permit for the job.
At that point, Goodman fired Tucker and returned the materials to the Lowe's store in Lufkin. He told the detective that Tucker never started the work on his home or returned the money.
When the LPD detective interviewed Tucker, he said he was supposed to be doing a roof job for the complainant, but he didn't do as fast as the man wanted.
“The guy that I was working for got a work permit to do the job, and he wouldn't accept the work permit,” Tucker is quoted as saying in the affidavit. “At that time, I was in Conroe doing a job, and I couldn't come down there, you know to get that permit, so I had somebody else go pull that permit for me to do the job.”
Tucker told the detective that Goodman got “kind of upset” and told him he was going to get someone else to do the job, according to the affidavit.
When the detective asked Tucker how much money he had gotten from Goodman, he said the amount was approximately $4,000 and that part of it was his pay and part of it was a loan that he had gotten from the man, the affidavit stated.
“I told him I would back him back, and he said, ‘No, don't even worry about it,'” Tucker told the detective, according to the affidavit. “But I'm still going to pay him pack, but I'm not going to lie to you, I just got out of prison on another charge that happened back in 2010.”
According to the affidavit, Tucker told the detective that it wasn't his fault that he didn't get the job and that when he was going to start on the roofing job, it was raining.
Tucker also allegedly said that the Goodman had given him $800 to get his truck out of the shop. He told the LPD detective that, all total, he thought he owned the home owner $1,100 to $1,200.
When asked about the $270 chest freezer, Tucker allegedly claimed that he paid for the appliance out of his own money. He also told the detective that he paid Goodman back for the cell phone bill, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit stated that Tucker stole a total of $5,900 from Goodman.
Goodman said there is a lesson to be learned.
"Get an estimate of what it is going to cost to get the work done," Goodman said. "Have the work done, completed, do a walk-around inspection, and then pay for the work."