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Homeowners Ripped Off While Trying To Go Green

WAYNESBURG (KDKA) - Some local homeowners tried to go green, but ended up losing a lot of money.

KD Investigator Andy Sheehan is on the trail of a contractor, who took thousands of dollars to install wind turbines and solar panels at local homes.

However, he never delivered and left more than a dozen customers with nothing.

Last year, Doug Caldwell hoped to help the environment and save on his electric bill by contracting for the installation of a wind turbine with an outfit called Tri-State Electricity.

A cement eyesore is all he has to show for his money.

"I feel it's theft. It's criminal to take somebody's money and not complete projects," Caldwell said.

Just down the road in McDonald, Debbie Cowden has inoperable solar panels in her backyard.

"Made an investment for our future, looking forward to our retirement, possibly reducing our electric bill maybe adding on to the panels, but now we're out $23,000," Cowden said.

Cowden has yet to get a watt of power and she said Joe Larkin has disappeared.

"Unable to reach him. His business is no longer located in Waynesburg. He closed up shop and there are no working phone numbers for him," Cowden said.

Sheehan spoke with three other customers who said they are in touch with a half dozen others in the same situation with payments approaching a half million dollars to Larkin.

However, Larkin's business office is now deserted.

Sheehan couldn't find him at his home either. Instead, he went to a diner he owns in downtown Waynesburg and asked for him there.

Like his customers, Sheehan was unable to locate or speak with Larkin, but they have contacted both the district attorney and the attorney general about his actions.


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