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Scammers plant worms on shingles of Denver home to sell unneeded roofing work

Colorado homeowner discusses being scammed by roofers
Colorado homeowner discusses being scammed by roofers 02:39

A group of alleged scammers have left at least three families in Denver's Congress Park neighborhood in need of a new roof after the victims say worms were planted in their shingles and presented as termite infestations. Homeowners tell CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas the scammers were aggressive, created damage of their own to shingles, planted worms and at times even took money for work that was never completed. 

John Prout

Those who spoke with CBS News Colorado said the scam first arrived in their neighborhood in late April. Both John Prout and Jim Ford said their individual experiences started with people claiming to be roofers approaching their homes and saying they noticed issues with the shingles while driving by.  

"I saw this guy standing in the yard," Prout said. 

Prout said he walked out of his home to see what the man needed. When he did, the man handed him a flyer for a company that read Uptown Remodelling LLC. 

While Prout talked with the man in his yard, he said others suddenly swarmed his home. 

"These guys spilled out of his truck with a ladder and clapped the ladder against the house and immediately started tearing shingles off. I said, 'What are you guys doing?'" Prout recalled. 

Prout said he never gave anyone permission to be in his home, let alone come onto his property. He never invited the company or asked for their services. So, he got a ladder of his own and climbed up on the roof to see what the men were doing. 

When Prout got on the roof, he was shocked to see what some of the men were doing.  

"They were putting worms underneath the shingles. I said, 'What are you doing?' And they said, 'Those are termites,'" Prout said. 

However, Prout used to work in home remodeling and improvements and quickly noticed the insects were not termites, but rather a type of worm commonly sold in bait shops and pet supply stores. 

But by the time Prout was able to realize what they were doing, he said they were already taking further action. 

"They were starting to pull shingles off. So I was running around the house yelling at them," Prout said. 


Prout said the men were argumentative with him and initially reluctant to get off his property as ordered. 

"(I was) madder than a wet hen. I was very upset. I was close to fisticuffs," Prout said. 

Prout said the men were cursing at him as they finally retreated. But, the damage was done. His home was left with several large patches with completely destroyed shingles.

Just one week prior, Ford said the same company and men came to his house. They told him they were driving by and noticed his shingles needed to be patched. They told him they would do it for free if he offered a tip of his choosing. He gave them permission to get on his roof.

However, when they got off his roof at first, they told him he, too, had termites and showed him pictures of worms under his shingles.

"I have to admit, it scared the living daylights out of me. Because I thought my roof could have caved in," Ford said.

Ford gave the men permission to start some work on his roof. However, throughout the afternoon, they kept coming to his door with more and new issues they claimed needed work. 

Fearful of his roof being exposed, he wrote multiple checks, some for more than $11,000, to the men to purchase materials and to begin replacing his roof. 

But, before they returned, he started researching their pricing and realized it was wildly over-quoted. He asked the company to provide proof of their license and more. When he researched what they provided he quickly learned they were not licensed in Denver and that their insurance number was defrauded from an unrelated company in Kansas.

Unfortunately, the men were able to cash at least one of his checks before he was able to notice the scam.

"It makes me feel like I am an idiot," Ford said.

Like Prout, now Ford's roof is left completely damaged and with tarps covering holes.

"It will have to be replaced in its entirety. It is completely damaged," Ford said.

Prout and Ford said at least one other person in their neighborhood has also fallen victim to the scam in the last two weeks, though the people she was scammed by were operating under a different company name.

The families have all contacted the Denver Police Department, saying the phone numbers and websites they were provided by the roofers are now disconnected or taken down.

CBS News Colorado tried calling the numbers the victims were given and confirmed the number was disconnected.

Denver police told CBS News Colorado they were aware of a roofing scam going on in the city, but could not further comment on an open investigation.

Both Prout and Ford said they hadn't heard from the scammers in days, even weeks. Both said they're hoping to spread awareness to help prevent others from becoming targets, while also hoping sharing their story will increase the likelihood of the scammers being caught.

"I hope justice triumphs in this particular instance," Prout said.

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