NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -
When the trusted owner of a company retires, there is no guarantee his replacement will be as trustworthy.
Tonight we have another example of this from the heating and air conditioning industry.
The list of people who have paid Jeremy Rupert and have nothing to show for it continues to grow.
Don Vogel is a 74 year-old disabled veteran. He lives alone. And he lives on his social security and a small state retirement check.
"$2,100.00...I mean, I don't eat out,” explains Vogel. “I don't go to movies. I haven't been to a movie or to a restaurant in decades. I watch my money. And $2,100.00 was an awful lot for me."
$2,100.00 is what Vogel paid Jeremy Rupert for a new air conditioner.
"Rupert split after he got that $2,100.00 check,” says Vogel. “He went to my bank and I never saw him again. It was just telephone calls after that."
"I'm very sorry,” explains Rupert in a voicemail message that Vogel played for us. “My back is just completely shot. I'm not going to be able to put it in. And...anyway...but I'll be bringing you back every penny of your money. Thank you sir."
"Fat chance," remarks Vogel while listening to Rupert’s message.
"I'm really sorry about all of this,” adds Rupert. “Bye."
Vogel asked another HVAC tech to look at his air conditioner.
"He came out...I didn't tell him what Rupert had said...that the unit was bad,” recalls Vogel. “I just said I always have them checked before spring...I mean in the spring and in the fall. And he checked it out and everything was fine (sob)."
"So the $2,100.00 was a ruse."
"It was a ruse."
Several tips from the public let us know that Rupert has been staying at his mom's house at 6600 Countrywood Cove in North Little Rock.
That is where we found him.
"Yes," answers Rupert through a slightly cracked door.
"Jason Pederson with Channel 7."
"How are you doing?" asks Rupert.
"Can we talk?"
"I can later on this afternoon," replies Rupert.
"Why not right now?"
"Why not right now?"
"I'm getting ready to leave,” says Rupert. “I gotta be somewhere."
"It won't take long."
"I'll talk to you this afternoon if you come around 2:00," offers Rupert.
"No. I can do it right now."
"I can't right now,” insists Rupert.
"You won't be around at 2:00."
"No you won't."
"Yes I will,” promises Rupert. “Yeah I will. I'll sit down and talk with you."
Not surprisingly...when we returned at 2:00 no one was home.
In addition to a growing list of complaints, Jeremy Rupert is facing a growing list of legal problems.
We’ll tell you about those on Wednesday night.
Air date: December 12th, 2017