Sheriff's office warns residents about "gypsy scam," identifies suspect

Man claimed elderly woman's roof needed work

SPRING HILL, Fla. - The sheriff's office has identified a man it said is soliciting roof work and then pressuring people into paying for unnecessary repairs.

An elderly woman who lives on Commercial Way reported a man knocked on her door on Jan. 12.  He told her that her roof need to to be fixed.

Two men returned a short time later and spent about 90 minutes at her home.  They charged her $321.  Later, the woman's son came to her house and determined the men did not perform any roof work.

Investigators identified one of the men as Leonard Lovell.  Lovell is from Alabama and has a history in Georgia of performing similar scams, according to the sheriff's office.

This type of scheme is commonly referred to as a "gypsy scam," authorities said. The suspects are typically from out of state and often target elderly victims by soliciting different types of work, such as driveway paving or roof repair.

The suspects will then perform little or no work, collect money from the victim, then leave the area without completing the job they were paid to complete.

The sheriff's office said there is reason to believe that Lovell solicited work from other individuals while he was in Hernando County.  They are asking people who believe they may have been a victim to this kind of scheme to call detectives at (352) 797-3728.

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