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DENVER -- Jeremiah Lopez claimed to be a landscaper on Craigslist, but tonight he is a fugitive in Colorado. In 2015, he was arrested for scamming dozens of people out of thousands of dollars for promised landscaping and concrete work that he never even started.
Lopez, 33, pleaded guilty in 2015 to felony theft. A judge gave him the chance to pay back the money he stole from people while on probation.
He violated his probation and has been on the run ever since. But detectives have learned he has continued to allegedly scam more people in the Denver metro area out of at least $10,000 combined.
Lopez was advertising his services on Craigslist, claiming to lay concrete, do landscaping or other types of work. But he required a portion of the cost upfront, and once he received it, detectives and his customers say he would disappear.
Caley Dias hired Lopez last April. Police believe she is one of at least 12 new victims.
"Very nice. Presented well. Spoke well. Seemed like a nice person doing landscaping to make ends meet,” she said of Lopez.
Dias and her husband found him on Craigslist and hired him, writing him a check for around $1,300 -- a portion of the total cost upfront. The job would include landscaping, installing a sprinkler system and concrete work around their Aurora home.
The Dias family told Denver7 that Lopez never showed up, however. And through a string of text messages, he provided excuse after excuse -- including weather delays, family commitments or illness.
"Just give us our money back. You know? We will find someone else. You know, no hard feelings," said Dias.
But Dias said it was too late because just days after receiving the check, Lopez apparently had already taken it to a check-cashing business.
"He walks out with my cash and there's no recourse for me."
Dias is currently trying to get her money back from the business.
"How can he look his children in the eye and do that to people?" asked Dias.
Now she hopes police catch him so he can't scam anyone else.
"He's been investigated, incarcerated for this exact thing and now he's back out there again and I just hope that other people will see this and steer clear of this guy," Dias said.
Dias says she and her husband will never hire workers from Craigslist again. Detectives are warning everyone to search any potential workers for hire on the BBB’s website or to conduct a criminal background search the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators are currently working on finding Lopez and gathering evidence against him.