Investigators seek door-to-door scammer

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) He knocks on doors, solicits work, takes prepayment and never returns. Authorities from two counties are looking for him and warning against door-to-door scammers.

The man authorities are looking for apparently saw trees that needed trimming in a yard in the 800 block of Kingsley Lane in Carson City , stopped, knocked on the door and made his pitch.

"You give me the money i'll come back with my crews and my equipment," says Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, "and all of a sudden you're out the money and the job because he never comes back."

A security camera at a local bank later caught him cashing the check.

He's apparently a versatile crook. In Douglas County he apparently offered to do asphalt and deck construction. Same M.O. Took prepayment, never returned. In both cases his victims were elderly.

"These scammers, they prey on the good nature of good folks," says Furlong.

He was driving an older white pickup and identified himself as John Mark.

Investigators at the Carson City Sheriff's Office apparently have reason to believe he's using his real name. Everything else about him, they say, is fake and they know that from first-hand experience.

They've actually talked with him. A detective reached him through a phone number he left with one of his victims. What followed was an interesting conversation which included home addresses that turned out to be phony, his claim that someone else had stolen his identity.

"In fact," says Furlong, "we have had him as close as saying he's in the parking lot waiting for his attorney."

"That he's outside your offices here and he's about to walk in? And none of this is true?"

"None of it is true."

So, they're still looking for him. Furlong says if you know him or see him you should give his office or Secret Witness a call.

In the meantime, there's one sure-fire way of keeping yourself from becoming his or any other door-to-door scammer's next victim. It's a simple question.

"Do you have a permit? That's your first flag. Local jurisdictions provide for solicitor's permits. If they don't have a permit, you're probably walking a very fine line."