Landscaper Taking Money And Deserting Jobs, Police Say

Friday, June 29th 2007, 5:00 pm
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma landscaper is wanted by the law. Kennith Smith is facing four felony warrants. Bartlesville police say they have 16 cases against Smith, after victims say they paid him money for a job and he either didn't finish or didn't show up at all. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullright reports police have even arrested Smith for this before, but say he bonds out and goes right back at it.

Al Andrews was afraid the tree in his front yard was going to fall on his house, like one in the back did, so he hired Kennith Smith with K and K and C Tree Service to cut it down in February. Al paid $200 to bind the contract, and then says Smith called back the next day.

"He would drop that from $700 to $500 if I'd advance him $300 more. He was going to run to Tulsa where a guy was going out of business and he could pick up some tree equipment, get a real steal on it. I did that, with some trepidation," theft victim Al Andrews said.

That was the last time Andrews ever saw Smith.

Andrews eventually filed a police report, as did Jan Adams' 81-year-old mother in Coffeyville, Kansas. She paid Smith $1,700 last fall to cut down three big trees and remove brush and timber.

Smith had quite a story.

"I've got a sick kid, is there anyway to advance me the pay, pay me up front? She did, he cut down a bushel of small limbs, stacked them in her yard and never came back," said Jan Adams, daughter of one of Smith’s alleged victims.

A friend of Jan's mother is out $1,900 as well, and police say the stories keep rolling in.

Smith faces a number of felony charges filed just this year, although officers say they've been working cases on Smith since 2004.

"He wants to convince you it's a misunderstanding, it can be fixed, hasn't gotten back there yet, the weather hasn't been good, there's always an excuse," said Bartlesville Police Detective Steve Birmingham.

Smith did not return our phone call. He has not been convicted of anything, he’s just facing charges. Smith’s next court date is July 11th.

Police say there are more cases being worked against Smith in Dewey and Osage County.

Watch the video: Landscaping Warning