Police: Eldery residents should be on alert after recent home improvement scams

CINCINNATI – Authorities are looking for a 26-year-old man they say scammed at least three elderly residents in the Tri-State.

Police warn others to be very careful when writing checks, especially to someone they don't know.

Sharonville police and Hamilton County deputies have warrants out for 26-year-old Brice S. Ryan, the suspect in recent home improvement scams. Authorities want to stop Ryan before anyone else falls for his scheme.

"I would recommend if there is work to be done on people's houses, contact Better Business Bureau, a neighbor, a family member, get a recommendation," Sgt. Ryan Hermes said.

Sharonville citizen Bob Green became a victim to the scam on April 17.

"Dumb, stupid thing for me to do really," Green said. "I should have never done it."

His wife, Pat, was shopping when Ryan and a few others came to his front door. Green told Ryan he wasn't interested in any services, but Ryan kept piling on the pressure.

"First, I told him I didn't need anything," Green said. "He started pointing out things wrong with the roof."

Finally, 86-year-old Green gave in.

After Ryan and his crew worked on the roof for about 30 minutes, Green found no legit repairs. He saw tar sprayed on the roof, and nails tacked where they did not belong.

Pat Green said, "The other man, Brice Ryan pulled out a little receipt book, a generic receipt book - and wrote down there ... roof ... $5,000."

She said she could eventually get the money back, and she's glad her husband wasn't hurt.

On Monday, The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said Ryan hit up a second victim. He offered to trim a tree for a 91-year-old at an agreed price of $440.

Instead of accepting cash, Ryan convinced the elderly person to give him a signed blank check, deputies said.

Ryan cashed the check for $4,400.

“I’m outraged when people take advantage of our senior citizens, those who we’re supposed to respect,” Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said. “We’re going to find this guy, and anyone else who preys on those who are most vulnerable in our society.”

Authorities said Ryan is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. He is wanted for theft by deception.

Ryan was charged with home improvement fraud out of Dearborn County in August 2013.

Deputies ask anyone with information on this case to contact Hamilton County Sheriff's Detective Shawn Cox at 513-851-6000 or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

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