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Police: Tree service company scams veteran

CREATED Oct 15, 2013

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NEW BERLIN - A World War II veteran became the victim of a scam. The tree service company behind the caper is still in our area. It's a story the New Berlin Police Department asked us to investigate.

Police maintain workers from a Minnesota company stopped by the home of Joe Bach, 88, claiming their truck had broken down. They offered to trim his yard and remove a massive tree while they waited for repairs.

The work came with a hefty $ 5,500 price tag.

”He paid them in advance. And they took that and left. Once the tree hit the ground, they took off with all their equipment,” explained Greg Bach, Joe’s son.

It seems the company is still in the Milwaukee area, despite a police investigation. TODAY’S TMJ4 spotted their trucks at a south side hotel.

Police officers’ hands are tied because they don’t believe the scam rises to a criminal level at this point. Right now, they’re urging homeowners to use common sense.

“Do your research. Verify who you’re dealing with. Check with the better business bureau. Definitely never pay cash up front,” said Officer Tony Fus of the New Berlin Police Department.

Scam victims want more than a warning. ”I’d like to see these guys behind bars, because it’s definitely criminal. People should be aware this is going on around them,” Greg Bach explained.

Police could issue a citation for soliciting without a permit. Bach’s neighbor offered to remove the stump from the man’s yard.