Police arrest David Webber, a contractor who owns a heating and cooling business in Monroe, after charging him with theft by deception after he allegedly failed to complete more than $170,000 worth of work on two homes. Credit: Maine State Police

An unlicensed contractor accused of failing to complete more than $170,000 worth of work for a Monroe homeowner has been arrested and charged with theft by deception.

David Webber, 48, of Monroe was taken into custody Thursday by Maine State Police detectives after being charged with Class B theft, according to a police release. He was taken to Waldo County Jail in Belfast, and his bail was set at $50,000.

“Mr. Webber had claimed to do extensive amounts of work in multiple areas. The amount of money charged was astronomical. Even if the work had been done, the amounts charged would just make your eyebrows raise to begin with,” Niles Krech, an investigator for Maine State Police Troop D, said Friday. “He just took money and didn’t do anything and made representations that he did. That, I think, is the big difference between this and the more common kind of cases that you hear about.”

Police first heard there might be a problem when a trooper who is familiar with the area started hearing reports of alleged contractor fraud. During the past year, Webber had claimed to have completed plumbing, electrical, heating and well-drilling work for a Monroe homeowner who paid him to work on two houses.

Krech said that police investigated the reports for about a month before troopers obtained a search warrant earlier this week and went to the two residences in question.

Police were joined by inspectors from the Maine Office of Professional and Financial Regulation and a hydrologist, as they checked to see what work actually had been completed at the houses, one of which had been rented to Webber. The homeowner had an estimate done that showed one of the houses was valued at less than he had paid Webber to work on it.

“The victim is upset,” the trooper said. “He’d like to get some of his money back, hopefully, and hopefully make it so Mr. Webber doesn’t do this to anyone else.”

According to Krech, one reason why Webber’s bail was set so high is because police learned that he has an active warrant for his arrest from Virginia for a similar reason, a 2009 charge of larceny for failure to perform construction. Maine police will let authorities in Virginia know that he is in police custody here, in case they would like to extradite him, Krech said.

Webber owns D&M Services of Monroe, a heating and cooling business, and holds no professional licenses through the state of Maine, police said. If he is found guilty of the charge, he could spend up to 10 years in prison and be fined as much as $20,000.

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