Police: NJ man tried to scam elderly Fairfield homeowner
FAIRFIELD — An alleged home improvement scam led to an arrest on larceny charges Monday.
Angelo Bimbo, 21, of Cherry Hill, N.J., turned himself in on a warrant at police headquarters, charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny, operating as a non-registered contractor and failure to furnish a three-day cancellation notice.
According to police, Bimbo, who also goes by the name, “Tim,” last October offered to repair and seal the concrete porch and steps at the home of a 74-year-old widower for $550. The homeowner agreed, but said he wanted a written estimate and a written contract. Tim, and another man with him, said their boss would bring those documents later.
The next day, Oct. 10, Bimbo and his co-worker came back and started to work on the steps, and again said his boss would come by later with the contract. They sprayed a tar-like liquid into some of the cracks and went over the area with a skim coat of concrete.
Around 6 p.m., Bimbo came into the man’s kitchen and told him the cost of the work was $2,750, and when the homeowner questioned the price, he said Bimbo became aggressive, threatening to put a lien on the house if he didn’t pay up.
The homeowner wrote out a check, knowing he did not have sufficient funds in the account, because he felt intimidated.
On Oct. 11, the two man came back, yelling at the homeowner because the check bounced. The homeowner took a picture of Bimbo’s license plate with his cell phone. Realizing this, Bimbo said his phone died and asked to use the homeowner’s cell phone. When he got the phone back, he realized Bimbo had deleted the photo.
The homeowner drove to People’s Bank, and in the parking lot, turned over $2,750 in cash to Bimbo. This time he wrote down the license plate.
Then, on Oct. 12, a man who called himself “Jolly,” phoned the homeowner and said he owned the home improvement company. He said there were bluestone slabs that were supposed to go on the steps and that the homeowner was supposed to receive a senior citizen discount. Jolly also said the two men who had done the work at the house wanted the homeowner to call the police and let them know he was satisfied with the work and that it was a “misunderstanding.”
The investigation included surveillance by detectives at the victim’s home, after he was told that some money would be returned by Bimbo. On Oct. 14, police found a Hamden man at the house who said he was a gypsy and had been asked by Bimbo to bring the homeowner $1,700 in cash. He also had a job cancellation agreement for the homeowner to sign.
According to the police report, “It should be noted that Gypsy families/groups/clans are known to perpetuate home improvement, driveway repair and masonry type scams typically preying on the elderly as they are very trusting and will often pay high dollar amounts for the service performed and not question the quality of the workmanship.”
Detectives were able to track Bimbo to an address in Norwalk, which led to information about previous arrests. Bimbo had been arrested three separate times in July of 2016, once by Stamford police and two other times in Norwalk for charges that included first- and second-degree larceny, as well as various violations of home improvement statutes.
Using information from those arrest records, the homeowner positively identified Bimbo as the person who said his name was Tim, and did some of the work. Consequently, police applied for an arrest warrant and Bimbo turned himself in Feb. 13. A second arrest is pending.
Bimbo was released after posting a $50,000 bond, but police discovered the truck that picked Bimbo up after he posted bond was unregistered. The truck was towed.
According to the report, Bimbo is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Bridgeport Feb. 28.