Man charged with shoddy work on elderly woman's East Hartford home

·2 min read

Sep. 23—A Cromwell man is accused of pretending to be a licensed home improvement contractor and doing shoddy work at an 83-year-old woman's East Hartford home last year, according to a police affidavit.

The man, Theodore Harris, 59, is facing charges of second-degree larceny and second-degree forgery, two counts of violating home improvement contract requirements, and failing to provide the woman with a sale agreement.

He is free on $50,000 bond and is to appear in Manchester Superior Court on Oct. 20.

The affidavit supporting Harris' arrest provides the following details:

The East Hartford woman met with police in October 2021 to report that she had contracted with Harris after seeing him working on another house near hers. She was diligent, and asked Harris up front if he was licensed to do such work, and Harris told her he was.

Harris said he didn't have his license with him just then, and would bring it with him when he came back to start the work on her house. When Harris returned he showed her paperwork he claimed was his contractor's license, the woman said.

However, upon viewing the document police noted that it had been purposely altered, with some information left out.

Police checked with the state Department of Consumer Protection, and found that Harris hadn't had a contractor's license in Connecticut since 1995.

The woman said after seeing the document she ultimately paid Harris a total of $3,000 to make repairs on two sets of stairs, her roof, and gutters, but none of them were repaired properly.

The two sets of stairs she asked Harris to fix led into the house, and into the basement from outside. She noticed that Harris used some of the old wood from the exterior stairs when repairing the basement stairs, and didn't replace the exterior railing.

The woman said Harris also didn't repair the gutters, and the roof began leaking again after Harris was done. Police noted that some of the gutters were partially hanging off the house, and that there was a stain from water on the woman's bedroom ceiling.

She had a different contractor come out to survey Harris' work, and they said it would all have to be redone. She said she didn't have the money to hire someone else right then.

Police contacted Harris about the allegations, and he said he did the work the woman asked him to do, but afterward she asked him to do more than they had agreed upon.

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