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Man scammed elderly with shoddy resurface work

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 22, 2016
Janet Link’s driveway looks terrible. And that’s after she paid $900 to have it resurfaced. 
 
“It’s guaranteed for five years he told me. It didn’t last five days,” she said.
 
The Spring Hill widow said she got suckered by a slick sales pitch.
 
“I’m very mad at him. But I’m more mad at myself that I allowed it,” she said.
 
A man came to Janet’s door in January, offering a professional job. 
 
But instead investigators said career criminal Dennis Prairie used a mix of watered down cement to basically paint over the driveway.
 
He did the same to her pool deck where you can still see the drips.
 
It looked bad from the moment he started.
 
“So he proceeded to slop some more of that stuff on. And I said to him you didn’t cover it all. I will take care of it. Don’t worry,” Link said.
 
The Hernando Sheriff’s Office said Prairie pulled the same scam with at least 13 people, almost all them are over 65.
 
He would tell them he got a special material to do the job from a warehouse that turned out to be nonexistent.
 
Detectives said he knew what he was doing and, after catching him in the act, Prairie was arrested for fraud and grand theft.
 
He wife was also arrested, but has since bonded out.
 
“It tugs at your heart strings. With grandparents and you think about your own family in these investigations. And it is difficult,” Detective Shawn Galarza said.
 
Prairie is in jail, but the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t want us to show his mug shot. 
 
They expect dozens more victims to come forward and they want those people to be able to identify him in a line-up.
 
He was also wanted on similar charges in Missouri.
 
Investigators said legitimate businesses rarely knock on your door asking to do work.
 
They remind you to always ask for references and check to make sure the workers are licensed. 
 
Link actually checked a neighbors driveway that Prairie had supposedly resurfaced. 
 
But she didn’t get a good enough look at it. 
 
Janet, who was married to her late husband for 62 years, is on her own to try and get her driveway done right.
 
“I think they ought to hang him from the nearest post,” she said.
 
If you think you might be a victim, call the Detective Galarza with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office at 352-754-6830.