arrested three men on May 18 after they were caught impersonating chimney cleaning company employees and attempting to charge a family $2,600 in unneeded repairs, according to Sgt. Carol Ogrinc.
The department received a call from a family on Sheridan Drive after the owners made an appointment to have their chimney cleaned by Chimney Corners, a company that they had used in the past, according to Ogrinc. The family told police that three men arrived at the home that day to inspect the chimney. One of the men, James S. Lewkowicz, 38, of 16 Jeanne Avenue, Jefferson City, NY, identified himself as the manager of Chimney Corners, inspected the chimney and said that it would cost $2,600 to repair it.
Ogrinc said that because she didn't recognize the man, the homeowner grew suspicious, but gave the men a check for the repairs anyway. After the men left in a white van — Ogrinc said that Chimney Corners uses blue vans with the company logo printed on the side — the homeowner contacted Chimney Corners and found out that the men did not work for the company. The homeowner then called her bank to immediately place a stop payment and contacted the police department.
While officers were questioning the homeowner, Lewkowicz called the home, according to Ogrinc, stating that he could not cash the check. The homeowner told Lewkowicz to return to the home for a new one. Lewkowicz along with Jonathan Torres, 26, of 52 Walnut Street, Lake Grove, NY and Todd R. Darrell, 27, of 5 Devon Road, Sound Beach, NY, arrived a short at the house a short time later and were met and questioned by officers.
Lewkowicz, Darrell and Torres were arrested and charged with illegal sales without a tax permit, craftsman work without a license, home improvement without a certificate, second-degree larceny, second-degree criminal trover, criminal impersonation, second-degree reckless endangerment and notices in sales agreement. They each posted bond and are scheduled to appear in court on May 30.