CAMERON, Mo. — Lauralyn Snow said she’ll never forget the sales pitch.
“He came in the front door, and he said my boss has an extra load of asphalt leftover,” Snow said.
She was about to tell the man no when he told her the price: $2,600.
“And I said ‘really?’ because I know how expensive asphalt is,” said Snow, believing at the time that she had found herself a deal.
Snow said the man and his crew told her they could asphalt over a large section of her and her husband’s recycling business for the agreed upon price. But shortly after the asphalt crew started working, things started getting wonky.
“A different guy came in and started talking to me about square footage and this and that,” she said. “I said, ‘No, just do what we agreed on. I’m good.’”
But 10 minutes later, the same man was back inside her office with a new price tag of $10,000. Snow told him that’s not what she had agreed to.
That’s when Snow’s husband Jeff entered the picture. The whole transaction was captured on the company’s multiple surveillance cameras.
Jeff Snow said he examined the work the crew had done so far and realized it wasn’t asphalt, it was just millings.
He gave the men the money his wife had agreed to pay and ordered them off his property before they’d even finished the job. But the men didn’t budge. In fact, some came into office. One even stepped behind the counter, he said.
That’s when Jeff Snow disappeared and came back with a gun.
“That’s when I pulled the gun and said, ‘You’re getting out of here,’” he said.
It worked. The men left, but they left behind a mess.
Jeff Snow said they badly bent part of his chain link fence with their equipment and the asphalt work is so bad, it will need to be dug up and redone. Even two weeks later, when Snow tried to drive on it, his tires sunk in.
So who were these asphalt workers?
“It’s a guy who I later saw on your FOX4 thing,” Lauralyn Snow said.
That would be FOX4 Problem Solvers. The guy she recognized on one of the segments was Jerry Alan Sawyer, who has been selling asphalt and collecting victims for years.
One elderly woman was taken for $10,000. Another man who, at first, refused to pay his bill said he was threatened. He even had home security video showing the workers surrounding him. He eventually relented and handed over $9,000 – three times the amount that he was told the price would be.
FOX4 Problem Solvers has been tracking Jerry Alan Sawyer for years. His problems extend far beyond Missouri.
Twenty-seven years ago, the state of Oregon wanted him for racketeering and theft; Missoula, Montana wanted him for fraud, so did Lee’s Summit and Maysville, Missouri, according to court documents.
In 2010, Kansas convicted him of pressuring an elderly couple to pay $8,000 for an asphalt overlay.
Sawyer keeps changing the name of his company. He was Alan’s Asphalt, then Industrial Construction, and now he’s working under the name C&J Construction, which claims to be based in Des Moines.
However, the Iowa Secretary of State’s office has no asphalt company listed by that name in Des Moines.
Plus, the truck that Sawyer was driving the day he arrived at the Snows’ business in Cameron had the name APRM Construction on the door. Problem Solvers called the phone number listed on that sign, and it led us directly to Alan Sawyer of Buckner, Missouri.
We called Sawyer who, like always, blamed the customer. He said the Snows knew exactly how much the price was going to be and were just upset about having to pay it.
Sawyer insisted he’s a nice guy and the attacks against him are unfair.
Plus, he said he wasn’t even in charge of the job at the Snows’ business. He said on that day he was working for his nephew Clayton Jessick. He insisted it was Jessick who informed them of the full price before the work began.
Sawyer then handed the phone to Jessick who insisted that Sawyer was telling the truth.
The Snows have filed a complaint with the Missouri Attorney General’s consumer fraud division. But so have many other people, and the Missouri Attorney General has done nothing – until now.
On Thursday, the Missouri Attorney General told FOX4 it is currently mediating the Snows’ dispute.
The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department also wouldn’t investigate, telling the Snows it was a civil matter.
But as many have discovered, you can’t sue Sawyer because you often can’t find him to serve him with court papers. If you do get a judgment against him, you often can’t collect.
Here’s the good news: Once the Dekalb County prosecutor learned of Sawyer’s lengthy history of complaints, he asked the sheriff’s department to conduct a criminal investigation.
Jeff Snow said he knows he might never get his money back. He just wants to stop Sawyer from hurting someone else.
Snow said it shouldn’t take a gun to defend yourself. But if law enforcement won’t help, sometimes a gun is all you have.