LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office arrested a 50-year-old man Thursday in connection to allegations that he rented a forklift and then sold the piece of equipment to another man for $3,300 later that same day.
Robert J. Duncan, of Lufkin, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a state-jail felony theft between $1,500 and $20,000 charge. No bail amount has been set at this time.
According to the arrest affidavit obtained by Pct. 1 Constable Tom Selman, he was contacted by the owner of Due's Wrecker Services, who said that a man had that hired the business to transport a forklift he had just bought had been scammed.
Further investigation revealed that the alleged victim in the case was Lee Ridout, the owner of Nacogdoches-based LLR Enterprises. When Ridout had Duncan do some mechanical service work for his company, he mentioned that he was looking to buy a forklift, and Duncan said he knew where the other man could find some forklifts, the affidavit stated.
Duncan showed a Toyota forklift to Ridout at the Sun-N-Pines Motel on Timberland Drive in June 12. After he looked at the forklift, Ridout agreed to buy the forklift for $3,300 and wrote him a company check for $2,500 with "a promise to pay the balance upon moving the forklift to Ridout's location on US Hwy 59 just south of Nacogdoches," the affidavit stated.
Ridout wound up having to hire Due's Wrecker Service to move the forklift to his place of business. When he contacted Due's, he was informed that they had delivered the same forklift to the motel from the Hugg & Hall Equipment Company located on Loop 287 under rental orders from the Bill Fence Company out of Cabot, Arkansas, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit stated that Duncan called Hugg & Hall Equipment and stated that he was with the Bill Fence Company and had a job going behind the Sun-N-Pines and needed a forklift. Due's Wrecker Service was hired to transport the forklift to the motel on the morning of June 12.
"Witnesses at the motel advised that after the forklift had been delivered, [Duncan] then worked for some time removing all of the decals from the forklift that identified it as belonging to Hugg & Hall," the affidavit stated.
Realizing that he had been scammed, Ridout went to the Timberland Drive branch of the First Bank and Trust of East Texas had found out that his check for $2,500 had been cashed earlier that day, the affidavit.
Ridout showed Selman the forklift, and then they went to the bank branch to get a copy of the check. Further investigation revealed that Duncan had used an Indiana driver's license to cash the check, the affidavit stated.