LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An arrest affidavit has revealed new details in the latest theft charge that has been filed against a former Lufkin pool store owner.
According to the arrest affidavit, Rory Alan Stringer, 37, of Lufkin committed theft of service in the amount of $7417.42 by agreeing to rent a skid steer loader and a bucket from TTJ Rentals in April of 2016 and never paying the money the company was due.
Stringer was booked into the Angelina County Jail on the latest charge, state-jail felony theft of service, on Sept. 14. He was released from the jail later that day after he posted a bail amount of $5,000.
The arrest East Texas News obtained Monday was signed by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Donnie Puckett.
Back in June, authorities filed two felony charges against Stringer in connection to allegations that he did not complete deliveries and installations of swimming pools. He is also accused of withholding child support payments from an employee and not turning those payments over to the state.
At that time, he was charged with a third-degree misappropriation of trust fund charge and a state-jail felony misappropriation of fiduciary or financial property between $1,500 and $20,000.
Before that, Stringer, the former owner of the Pool Store, was arrested on Feb. 23 and charged with 12 felonies - six counts of theft and six counts of misapplication of trust fund. He posted a collective bail amount of $250,000, and was released later that day.
According to the arrest affidavit, a representative of Texas Timberjack Inc. the parent company of TTJ Rentals, contacted an agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division on June 13 about possible criminal activity by Stringer. Two DPS criminal investigation agents met with the woman on the next day.
The woman told the two DPS agents that TTJ Rentals rents heavy machinery to the public. She also told them that Stringer met with a TTJ Rentals sales representative on April 20, 2015, in an attempt to rent a 2014 Terex skid steer loader and a Blue Diamond 72-inch bucket, the affidavit stated. In the rental agreement, Stringer said he was representing The Pool Store.
According to the affidavit, Stringer agreed to rent the loader for a 28-day period. He also allegedly agreed to use it no more than 176 hours with the understanding that use of the heavy equipment beyond that amount of time would result in overtime charges. With the taxes and fees added, the monthly fee was $2,208.96.
The rental agreement stated that Stringer was required to keep the loader in good condition and repair and that if the equipment was damaged, the rental period would continue until the equipment was repaired back to its original condition, the affidavit stated.
The representative of Texas Timberjack told the DPS agents that when Stringer returned the equipment that fall, he owed TTJ Rentals a total of $7,417.42, the affidavit stated. That amount included repairs to the loader and the cost of replacing the fuel that was used.
The affidavit stated that Stringer made two partial payments with checks from two different banks in the amount of $2,802.88. Both checks allegedly bounced. A written notice detailing the money owned to TTJ Rentals was mailed to Stringer, the affidavit stated.
A DPS agent obtained the two warrants that were filed on Stringer back in June. One arrest affidavit alleges Stringer took
$16,505.06 from a woman and did not deliver on the job. The other alleges Stringer withheld child support and medical support from an employee but did not submit the amount of $6,505.82 to the Texas Attorney General's Office State Disbursement Unit.
"There are going to be cases outside of Angelina County," Angelina County Sheriff Lt. Brett Maisel said. "The bulk of the cases are here in our county. It is very difficult for the families. We know at least five families in Angelina County have been affected by it. We also find it difficult to understand why someone would defraud the elderly."
According to the arrest affidavit East Texas News obtained after Stringer's initial arrest, a detective with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office contacted a 68-year-old man on Oct. 12, 2016.
The man said he had met with Stringer at the Pool Store on Sept. 23. 2016, and agreed to buy a 21-foot above-ground pool from the store and install it himself for $1,600. He said Stringer told him he would deliver the pool in seven to 10 days.
A civil lawsuit has also been filed in Judge Paul White's District Court. The plaintiff in the case alleges that he paid Stringer $81,575.65 for a pool and accessories. The lawsuit alleges that after the work was complete the spa jets did not work right, the UV system did not work, the tile decking around the pool did not drain properly, the spa drains down when the pump is off, no chlorinator was installed, the tile, and coping needed repairs as well as several other cosmetic issues.
The plaintiff also stated the family had to get another contractor to come in and do everything again. The lawsuit is seeking $144,100.
Since his arrest in February, Stringer has been attempting to start up a new pool business. Back in April, he confirmed that although no official paperwork has been filed with the county clerk's office, he is at work trying secure an LLC status.
Stringer closed down the Pool Store in September or 2016 for what he stated was personal issues.