Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

New Port Richey man accused of preying on elderly, stealing money

A 26-year-old New Port Richey man is accused of preying on elderly citizens by promising to do repairs on their homes, accepting their deposit checks and then never coming back to do the work.

Michael Harry Jones knocked on the doors of retirees and offered to do home repairs, such as house and driveway painting and pool deck repair, authorities said. Jones accepted checks from at least three homeowners — an 81-year-old in Hudson, a 78-year-old in Port Richey and an 82-year-old in New Port Richey — totalling $1,500. He took the money as a deposit and never returned to do any work, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

The check from the Port Richey victim was written out for $100, but Jones is accused of altering it to look like $400 and cashing it.

He was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of grand theft from a person aged 65 or older, uttering a forged instrument and failing to appear in court on a charge of possession of controlled substances without a prescription. He also has a warrant from Pinellas on a charge of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Jones is being held at the Pasco jail in lieu of $31,526 bail. Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll urges any other possible victims to call the agency at (727) 844-7711.

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