LINCOLN -- A California-based contractor is facing five counts of theft by deception, by getting $20,000 up front from five customers affected by a 2010 hailstorm in northern and western parts of Lincoln. Police Officer Katie Flood says 45-year-old Charles O'Laughlin and his company, U.S. Exteriors, would get people to pay for roof repair beforehand but never did the work or, if he did, would apparently door a poor job. That sparked an investigation by Lincoln Police over a three-year period that resulted in O'Laughlin's arrest on Tuesday. Flood says employees were frustrated about not being paid and describe O'Laughlin as a "storm chaser", where he would go to communities affected by severe storms and sell new roofs to people. Flood says more people could come forward about being a victim of this scam. She says do background checks on a contractor before hiring, such as checking with the Better Business Bureau. Don't fall for high-pressure sales tactics, such as limited time offers where you need to pay money up front.
Charles O'Laughlin (Courtesy of Lincoln Police)