Is it vandalism as well as theft if a landscaper stole $3300 deposit, destroyed our yard and disappeared? 18 Answers as of May 21, 2013

A landscaper was given checks for $3,300 as a deposit to landscape our front yard. He came a few days later with a bobcat, destroyed our front yard, piled what once was our front lawn in the back driveway, destroyed a lamp post, cut an underground electric line and did some other minor damage. It has been almost three weeks and we have not seen or heard from him and he will not return our calls. Is this vandalism as well as theft? Can I recope my losses?

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Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
It sounds like theft by fraud/deception to me. Talk to the police or county prosecutor to see if you have a case. It is possible that they will refuse to charge him with any crime, and you will have to hire a civil attorney and file a lawsuit for the damages and refund of the deposit. You should be able to get a civil judgment, but good luck in trying to collect it.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/11/2012
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Your question requires an attorney consultation. It is not a simple question that can be answered on this type of forum. There are many factors that would need to be considered and evaluated. I strongly suggest that you contact an experienced attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/9/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
File a police report and show any payments you made. You can hope they catch up to him and eventually be paid restitution.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/9/2012
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
If you hired a landscaper who is not licensed or insured and you did not check with Better Business you may have a problem collecting. You can sue him in Small Claims Court or possible have him arrested if he committed a fraud or has done this to several people. That would be a "scheme to defraud" and the prosecutor can get restitution unless they are bankrupt or leave town.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/9/2012
Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
It sounds like breach of contract and negligence. You may have a civil suit, if you can find him.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/8/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    Sorry to say but it is probably neither. You can file a police report but the officer may not take it because (s)he will say this is a civil matter. And it is that. You have a contract with that individual and he has apparently breached that contact as well as performed it haphazardly. You can recoup your loss by suing him. Contact a lawyer for more information how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    There are several possible charges. File a police report. To recoup your money and pay for damage, take him to small claims.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    This would be a breach of contract case, and you could sue for damages including the damage he did to the lawn, the pole and the electrical wires. However, if you cannot find him, you will not be able to sue him. You should file a police report regarding the theft (although the police may not be able to do anything about it) and also contact your state attorney general's office. It may be the case that he has done this to other homeowners as well.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/21/2013
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It is a civil case that would be re-mediated by filing a breach of contract lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    You can try to recoup your money damages by first contacting the police and/or ADA to file criminal charges. Once they get a conviction, then you can seek restitution in that same court/case or file a civil case to get a judgment against the vandal.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    First make a police report then report this to your Better Business Bureau, Angie's list etc. Check with the state to see if he is a licensed contractor, if he is complain to the state. If he is not that may be additional ground for action. You may also wish to sue him in a civil actions, such as small claims court.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    No it is a civil dispute. Your remedy is to sue for damages.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    At the very least you should be able to recover your deposit and damages. The real problem may be in whether the landscaper is collectible. You may want to report this matter to the police as his taking the deposit and not doing the work may be criminal in nature.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    There may not be any crime. This could be a civil matter but I would make a police report and at least the DA can review it. I hoe you have homeowner insurance because they may cover the loss for all of it (less your deductible).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It could be vandalism. Was it necessary in order to do the landscape work he was paid for? I would not only call the police about this, I would also get an attorney and sue him.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Doubtful on your losses. Hire someone else and report it as a crime to the police. I would try to put a stop payment on the checks.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    It is probably not vandalism, but it is probably theft. You hired a cheat to landscape for you. If he is prosecuted criminally, then you can request restitution, to be paid over the next three years. If you sue him in civil court, the judge will construct a similar payment plan. He cheated you, and has spent that money.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/8/2012
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