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Asheboro woman scammed by handyman who lived nearby: 2 Wants to Know

Janet McElreath needed some work done on a storage unit in her backyard. She hired a guy to replace the siding but after giving him the money he didn't do the job.

ASHEBORO, N.C. — Janet McElreath walks around her yard picking up broken branches and pulling weeds. The Asheboro home she has owned for more than 55 years is gorgeous including the landscaping.

“I love the neighborhood, that’s why we stayed here,” McElreath said.

The ranch-style home has a bed and breakfast feel. The inside is just as nice as the outside. Through the years she and her husband have made improvements and maintained the property.

In the backyard is a storage cottage that looks like something out of central casting in Hollywood. The small unit has a porch, a big door, and two windows. The green paint on the outside is starting to show some wear and tear so McElreath decided to replace the wood siding with vinyl.

One day she noticed a handyman doing some work in the neighborhood and asked if he could help. McElreath had him do a couple of smaller jobs first and then asked if he could replace the siding.

“He put a roof on my swing arbor, he did a fantastic job,” she said.

A couple of weeks later he was set to come back to the house to remove and replace the siding on the storage unit. McElreath heard a knock on the door a few days before he was set to start.

“The handyman came by and said he had been in a wreck and his wife was in the hospital, they were having a hard time,” she said.

He asked if McElreath could pay him before he started the job. She agreed and gave him $4,000. 

About four or five days passed and McElreath started to wonder why he hadn’t started the job yet. She called his cell phone several times but didn’t hear back.

“He did not answer his cell phone,” McElreath said.

This went on for about two months. She would call every few days but never hear back. McElreath would eventually call Asheboro police and contact the Better Business Bureau to see if either could help.

“I wasn’t sure what to do,” she said. “I didn’t think I would ever see him again.”

Eventually, McElreath called our Call for Action team and left a message. 

When WFMY News 2 spoke with her it had been almost three months since she paid the handyman. 

After News 2 spoke with McElreath, we decided to give the handyman a call.

It took a few calls, but he eventually answered, and we asked about the job and why he never showed up after taking the money. 

He apologized and explained he was going through some tough times. The handyman told WFMY News 2 he planned to make it right and repay the money. 

Not long after News 2 spoke with him he went back to see McElreath and paid her $2,000.

“I think you all did a fantastic job, I appreciate your help,” she said.

He would later pay the remaining $2,000 and asked McElreath to forgive him. 

She tells News 2 she forgave him a long time ago and is glad he decided to make things right.


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