Residents should be on the lookout for a pair of tree-trimming con men, the Stevens County Sheriff’s Department warns.
Spokesman Wayne Hulet said an elderly woman in Blue Creek, 13 miles south of Colville, was defrauded earlier this week by two men who charged her $2,500 for trimming a few branches and spraying what appeared to be used motor oil.
The woman became suspicious and attempted to stop payment on her check about an hour after the men left, but they had already cashed it.
Hulet said the men first persuaded the woman to pay them $80 to trim two trees, then told her that her mobile home had a termite infestation. They showed her some leaves and bark with an oily black substance they said was termite residue.
The men told the woman they could cure the problem by spraying a chemical that cost $48 a quart. They said they couldn’t estimate the total cost in advance and later told her they had sprayed 41 gallons of the chemical.
A sheriff’s officer found two trees and a lilac bush that had been trimmed lightly and a substance believed to be used motor oil that had been sprayed around the trees and the base of the woman’s home.
The men, who identified themselves as Jerry Long and Larry Barton, gave a false address in Moses Lake in a receipt they wrote on Howard Johnson’s hotel stationery.
The suspect identified as Long is described as white, 45 to 50 years old, 5-feet-7 to 5-feet-9, with a medium build and dark hair. The victim described the other suspect as white, 50 to 60 years old, 5-feet-9 to 6 feet, heavy-set with gray hair.