A former employee of a Coram tree trimming business was arrested Friday for taking a company van and cash deposits from at least six Suffolk homeowners without doing the work, Suffolk police said.
Gary Descisciolo, 54, of Bay Shore, was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and six counts of petty larceny for incidents that occurred in December.
He had claimed to work for Leon’s Tree Service in Coram and knocked on doors asking for work and collecting cash down payments, police said.
Police said Descisciolo was a former Leon’s employee who never returned the company vehicle.
Arraignment and attorney information for Descisciolo of Oak Ridge Drive were not immediately available Friday night.
Evamarie DeGennaro, 36, a single mother and office assistant from North Babylon, said she went to the Sixth Precinct on Friday and picked him out from a photo lineup as the man who took $200 from her Wednesday and never showed up to do the work Thursday.
“I wanted to flash him a big old smile and say ‘You’re welcome’ ” for helping spread the word about him and going to the police, DeGennaro said.
She said police told her they found him in a Leon’s Tree Service vehicle.
Descisciolo had arrived in a Ford pickup with an Illinois license plate and banged on her door at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, DeGennaro said, and he convinced her he would give her a deal because he needed to make extra money: “Can you believe it?” she said he told her. “At 52, I had twins.”
She said she snapped up his offer to cut down nine trees for $800 — a staggering discount from the earlier $5,000 estimate she had received from another company.
Now, with no paycheck next week because she was home on vacation, DeGennaro said she won’t have money to do her big monthly, grocery shopping but will survive.
“My big goal was to get him off the streets,” DeGennaro said. “I didn’t expect to get my money back. It’s going to hurt, but I have a good support system, and it’s not going to break me.”
Police said the investigation continues and said additional charges are pending against the former tree service employee. Police ask anyone who believes they are victims to call 631-852-COPS.