Florida Woman’s Driveway Is Stolen While She’s at Work

We’ve all heard of porch pirates — thieves who snatch unattended packages from people’s porches — but what if the pirate had something bigger in mind…..perhaps a driveway? Someone stealing a driveway might seem comical, but Amanda Brochu isn’t laughing. In early December, she put her Apopka, Fla., house on the market. As part of her preparations, she had a few contractors come by to work on the house. With contractors coming and going, no one paid attention to a group of workers who shouldn’t have been there. When Brochu returned home from work one day, her driveway was gone. Someone had ripped up the pavement and left a muddy trail in its place. It turns out that Brochu and an unwitting contractor had fallen for what’s known as an “overpayment scam.” In an overpayment scheme, a scammer will seek out homes listed for sale on sites like Zillow or Realtor.com. Typically, they’ll target vacant homes. The scammer will pretend to be the home’s owner and ask local contractors to provide an estimate for some exterior work like a roof, driveway or painting. The scammer and the contractor agree on a price and the scammer will mail a check for more than the agreed-upon price. Then, they’ll get a call from the supposed homeowner saying there was a mistake. The scammer will ask that the extra money be refunded. Shortly after the contractor sends the cash, and occasionally after work begins, the scammer’s original check will bounce. The missing driveway threatened to ruin the value of Brochu’s house, putting her future in jeopardy. Fortunately, she’s getting help. After her story broke, a sponsor of a local radio station offered to repair Brochu’s driveway free of charge. The lesson here is that it doesn’t matter what it is or if it’s nailed down — someone will try to steal it.