We found out the other day that a customer of ours, whose been jerking us around with payment on a Bobcat (front-end loader) he rented, and was trying to purchase, has a track record of ripping people off in Woodstock, Georgia, Orlando, Clearwater, Tampa, South Florida and the Keys. We found a page devoted to him on a Facebook site called The Intl. Scam Alert, something else on Ripoff Report, and news channel 8 in Tampa did a feature on him after he got huge deposits from two homeowners in the area and never finished the work.
Here’s what one person said about him: unprincipled narcissist, deficient conscience; unscrupulous, amoral, disloyal, fraudulent, deceptive, arrogant, exploitative; a con artist and charlatan; dominating, contemptuous, vindictive.
“Poses as a professional athlete/entrepreneur in order to gain people’s confidence.”
“He has been posting again on Instagram about his amazing rock star life… His jet, exotic cars, etc. Of course, all lies, and very funny because of the absurdity of it all since he can’t even pay his bills.”
“His own mother says it’s in his nature to steal and scam.”
“STAY AWAY FROM THIS MAN!!! HE IS A SOCIOPATH AND DANGEROUS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.”
So I offered to go to Hollywood and repo the machine. My brother was quite ready to go that far yet. He was still willing to work with the guy, but I convinced him otherwise. I needed something to do. A man can only sit around a shop drawing and answering phones for so long. I’d been doing it for 2 days.
“What if he doesn’t let you take it?” my brother asked.
“I’ll get it,” I said. “You don’t think I will?”
I got in the truck and headed down there. It was a 45-minute drive, and on the way, I was trying to imagine how everything would play out. The only way he was going to stop me was if he had a gun or a knife, that I knew. I was willing to fight to the death otherwise, not so much because I was angry at him – I’d never even met him before – and not because I desperate for the bobcat or the money. Like I said, I needed something to do. But it wasn’t just that. It was also about proving something to my brother and the other employees – the lengths I would go to fight injustice, etc., and proving something about courage to myself. And it was a question of fate. If I had the talent I could’ve been a musician, a boxer, a parkourist, a clown-juggler, an assassin, a baseball player, a stage-actor, a stand-up comedian, or some other job where all my emotion could be poured into and have a release. My emotion had no release in my current life; it only had it in my art, but that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t violent or final enough. It was all bottled up inside me, and now, after months trying to escape from me and failing, it had finally found a release-point.
The scumbag’s name was Larry S., but because he had screwed so many people over and it was all over the internet, he went by his middle name, Henry.
I met my driver around the corner from the jobsite and we headed over there together. We parked just up the street from it. My driver had been there many times before. The property was huge. It was a mansion on a canal, and Henry had had the Bobcat there for months, but every time my driver had gone there, it looked the same. The dirt pile was just in another place in the backyard. Henry was no doubt working his con on the owner of the place.
I walked with my driver up to the backyard and saw the Bobcat in the back corner, along the canal. In the front corner of the backyard there were four Haitians standing around with a shovel, but we didn’t seen Henry. We walked along the wall bordering the property. In the very back, near the Bobcat, there was an opening in the wall with a provisional plywood wall stacked against it. My driver and I moved the plywood wall to the side and I walked casually up to the bobcat and got in. I started it, flicked the hydraulics on. I drove through the opening in the wall and along the property, up the street. My driver and I then loaded it onto his rollback truck. We chained it down, looked back at the property and the opening in wall.
No one even noticed that we’d taken it, or if they had, they didn’t say anything.
It was strangely disappointing.
I had been hoping for some kind of conflict. Even a brief argument would’ve worked as I had some choice words prepared for our friend. h
My driver and I got into our respective trucks and drove off into the Florida sunshine.
About fifteen minutes later, Henry called the shop. He was livid, making all kinds of threats. He’s going to get the Bobcat back somehow, he’s going take us to court, he’s going to tell everyone what horrible monsters we were, etc., etc.
He then texted one of our drivers, not the one who I retrieved the Bobcat with, another one. He apparently had his number from a previous delivery.
“Thief!” he said. “You stole my Bobcat. I’m going to call the cops! Bring it the fuck back here you fucker. Thief!”
My driver’s response: “Why did you go back to Georgia?”
I think what he meant was “Why don’t you go back to Georgia?” But did was good enough. It meant we knew Henry’s true identity. We knew he was Larry S., the Intl. Scam Alert guy. Ever since he’d been renting from us he’d kept the fact hidden, but we’d found it out, and he never did answer my driver’s question.