Contractor pours excuses instead of concrete, leaving customers stuck with loss

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Take a walk into Kyle Wingate's Overland Park backyard and you can still see the mess that contractor Bill Lahn left behind. Piles of debris and dirt from where Wingate's old deck and patio were torn out. It's all Wingate has to show for the $2,300 he paid Lahn as a deposit to build him a new patio.

"He seemed legit," Wingate said. " He just seemed like a good old boy contractor."

Although Lahn was quick to cash Wingate's deposit check, he never poured a drop of concrete. But Lahn did pour out the excuses.

"He told me his brakes went out on his truck and he was looking to get a rental truck," Wingate recalled. "He said he'd start working tomorrow."

That was more than a month ago. He no longer returns Wingate's e-mails or phone calls. And Wingate isn't Lahn's only victim. Gayle Bedore is out $1,500. She trusted Lahn to pour her a new driveway and garage floor. But once she paid Lahn part of the deposit he was demanding, Lahn disappeared.

"I felt violated," said Bedore who also lives in Overland Park. "My husband was so angry."

FOX 4 Problems heard similar complaints from many more, including Anita Volskay of Independence, Mo.

"He never showed up," said Volskay who said she had given Lahn $1,200 down. "It's sad. It's really sad."

All Volskay has to show for her money is a signed contract and a voice mail from Lahn promising to be right over. That was in July.

Neighbor Sue Ziebell paid Lahn more than $800 to pour a sidewalk from her front stoop to her driveway. It was the same story. Lahn disappeared with her check and never returned. Making matters worse, when she tried to report Lahn to Independence police, she was told there was nothing they could do. It was a civil matter.

"That just tells me it's okay to take people's money and there's no consequences for it," Ziebell said.

It took all three neighbors going to an Independence police station together to demand help before police finally agreed to take a theft report.

But finding Bill Lahn won't be easy. He's disconnected his phone and the Raymore home he once rented is empty. That means Bill Lahn is one the move. He could be coming to your neighborhood next.