WSAZ Investigates | Roofing business owners charged with theft
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -The owners of a roofing company have been listed in a several-count indictment alleging theft, according to court documents from Lawrence County.
The indictment accuses Luis Escobedo and Jose Cabrelas, the owners of Shield Roofing & Construction, of deceiving homeowners, including several elderly homeowners and a church.
Luis Escobedo, of Orlando, Florida, faces two counts of theft from a person in a protected class and two counts of theft.
Jose Cabrelas, of South Point, Ohio, also faces two counts of theft from a person in a protected class and two counts of theft.
Investigators said the contractors are accused of taking payment for a service or services that they never provided or finished.
Court documents said the company owners stole upwards of $28,000 between April and May.
Union Baptist Church is one of the victims.
“It’s disheartening for someone to steal from a church,” said Troy Hardy, a trustee of Union Baptist Church.
Hardy said the church paid more than a $6,000 deposit in March 2022 to have the roofs of the church and fellowship hall replaced. As time passed, though, he became concerned.
“I had to call a couple of times and ask for updates. They told me they thought the material was in and were working to finalize the schedule,” Hardy said.
While Union Baptist Church was able to hire another contractor to install the church roof, there’s still a project left unfinished.
Hardy said they couldn’t afford to replace the roof on the church’s fellowship hall because of the missing money.
“We’ve sent letters which have been returned. We’ve made multiple phone calls to get out money back. We don’t want anything more than that so [we can complete] the fellowship hall,” he said.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office said they received seven complaints filed against the company.
In West Virginia, there have been 20 complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office.
One of those complaints was filed by Ben Smith. He’s a business owner in Huntington who said he also paid for service, but the work wasn’t completed.
“It’s hard to tell how many people’s money they really have,” Smith said.
Smith said he paid Shield Roofing and Construction a deposit of a little more than $12,000 in March 2022.
“In the beginning, they blamed it on supplies and were having trouble getting supply,” Smith said.
In August, several customers told WSAZ they received a letter from the company saying the business was closing.
WSAZ reached out to the company’s owners using their business line and a cellphone, but we never heard back.
Escobedo and Cabrelas are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 26.
Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless believes there are more victims.
If you believe you may be a victim, Lawless encourages you to reach out to law enforcement in your area.
State officials said to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office in your state.
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