Suspect accused of taking $5,000 from elderly homeowner for a roofing job that never started

ST. GEORGE — A local man accused of taking a $5,000 payment from a 85-year-old homeowner for a roofing job that was never started was arrested and booked into jail facing felony theft.

Stock image for illustrative purposes only | Photo by Vitaliy Halenov/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

According to a police report filed in support of the arrest, the investigation began Friday when officers responded to a home in St. George and spoke to an individual who called to report a possible roofing scam.

The man reportedly told police that about a month earlier, he hired the suspect, identified as 45-year-old Gabriel Ryan Thompson, for a roofing job at his home on North 100 East in St. George.

The homeowner said Thompson told him that he would need $5,000 to cover supplies and order materials before starting the project, which the homeowner paid to Thompson by check.

The report states the homeowner heard nothing from the suspect after that payment, and there has been no work done on the roof. Additionally, the homeowner also told officers the suspect would not take any of his calls, leaving him to believe he was being defrauded.

The homeowner provided officers with an itemized list of supplies the suspect allegedly said he would be ordering for the project; however, he added that there was no signed contract or agreement at the time the payment to purchase the materials was made.

Despite this, the crime may fall under the elder abuse clause, the officer wrote in the report, noting the homeowner’s age.

The homeowner reportedly told officers he checked with his bank and learned the $5,000 check had already been cashed, adding that when he followed up with the supply company where the materials were to be ordered, the representative said they had not been contacted by Thompson with any orders.

When officers tracked down the suspect the following day, the report states that Thompson said he was supposed to complete the project but ran into some health problems and was unable to start the job. Thompson also allegedly said he had no reason for not contacting the homeowner or returning any calls other than to say the last time the two had spoken, the homeowner was upset with him for not working on the project.

The suspect also told officers he could come up with approximately $2,000 to pay the homeowner if “he didn’t go to jail today,” the officer noted in the report, adding that the suspect said he had four other roofing contracts in St. George that he was currently working on.

The suspect’s comments reportedly led the investigator to believe there was no reason Thompson couldn’t work on the homeowner’s job if he was able to work on the four other active projects.

File photo of St. George Police officers, St. George, Utah, July 10, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Thompson was arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing second-degree felony theft; however, this is not the suspect’s first run-in with the law.

In August, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault for admittedly assaulting his girlfriend during an altercation at a family member’s home in November 2020. The original charges of felony aggravated assault were downgraded under the terms of a plea agreement.

The suspect was sentenced to serve a year in jail, but the sentence was suspended by the court, as were fines totaling more than $2,500. Instead, the defendant was placed on 24 months of probation, which was still active when Saturday’s arrest took place.

In October 2019, the suspect was arrested on felony burglary and several misdemeanor offenses after officers responded to a disorderly call where a witness who reported that Thompson had kicked in the front door of a residence and then went into another residence where he placed the homeowner in a headlock.

The state filed misdemeanor charges that included two counts of criminal trespass, one count of disorderly conduct and one count for intoxication. The suspect pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced in February of this year. All jail terms, totaling 764 days, were suspended in the case and Thompson was ordered to pay a $1,200 fine. He was also placed on 24 months probation.

Following Saturday’s arrest, the suspect has been released from jail.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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