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Update: Community finishes deck for woman who was scammed by a local contractor

Posted: Updated:
Ruth Baer Ruth Baer
Local contractor arrested Local contractor arrested

The community has come together to help an elderly Colorado Springs woman conned by a local contractor first exposed right here on News5 Investigates.

John Colon, also known as Jose, walked off the job after the homeowner paid him $6,000 to build a new deck in her backyard. 

We first introduced to to Ruth Baer on Aug. 3 and almost immediately, the phone calls and emails started coming into our newsroom from licensed contractors and people who couldn’t believe somebody would take advantage of an elderly woman. 

Thursday morning, we learned the community finished the job and were ready to show Ruth her new deck!  

“Oh my God, this is beautiful,” Ruth Baer said.

Our cameras were rolling as Baer got her first look at her new deck built by people who couldn’t stand to see her suffer.

“Thank you,” Baer said as she walked out on her deck.

Baer contacted our News5 Investigates team after Colon stopped answering her calls and never showed back up to finish the work. 

“I wrote him a check and I never heard another word from him,” Baer said.

About two weeks ago, Colon showed up on her doorstep. This is where Colorado Springs Police arrested him. 

A CSPD spokesperson told News5 Colon was taken into custody on unrelated fraud charges out of Florida.

News5 Investigates uncovered Colon was wanted by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly conning five “investors” out of more than $100,000 in a house-flipping scheme.

According to court documents, Colon told his potential business partners that they could buy cheap homes together, renovate them, and flip them for a profit.

Instead of buying houses with the money, Colon allegedly pocketed the cash.

“It’s really sad that often times contractors have a bad name,” Garth Hystad with Colorado Custom Decks and Mosaic Outdoor Living said.

"You can tell that the person who was paid to do this job knew nothing about what he was doing and it showed,” Hystad said.

Ruth couldn’t believe the outpouring support from the community who took time out of their other jobs to help complete what one contractor had no intentions of finishing.

All the volunteers who helped build the deck wanted nothing in return for their work.  

"We were really happy to come and do this for Ruth and do it the right way,” Hystad said. “The only thing Ruth should have to worry about is enjoying life and enjoying Colorado."

As a final touch, Ruth also got some new patio furniture!

“I can’t believe it,” Ruth said. “I’ve never seen such a beautiful deck in my entire life.”

News5 Investigates would like to thank the following people and companies for helping make things right for Ruth:

-Gail and Garth Hystad with Colorado Custom Decks and Mosaic Outdoor Living & Landscaping

-Mike Arrigo with Noah’s Restoration

-The Home Depot

-JP Welding

Colon has been extradited to Florida, but has since bonded out.

Our repeated calls for comment have not been returned.

Colorado Springs police say since Ruth signed a contract and voluntarily gave Colon money, her case is considered a civil matter under Colorado law.

Ruth has not received any of her money back.

You can read a copy of the arrest warrant out of Florida here.

You can read our first follow-up story on this case here.

Our initial story can be found by clicking on this link.

If you have a story for News5 Investigates, email me at eross@koaa.com

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