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Update: One Suspect Arrested in Home Improvement Scam - Accomplice Still Wanted

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 12, 2013

scamalertscamalert (Original Image)
**Note: As the weather gets nicer, people are more likely to make repairs and improvements to their home.  This is the time of year that home improvement scammers like to look for potential victims.  The two suspects below have targeted a Montgomery County resident and police believe that these two individuals may still be attempting to scam people in the county.**

In June of 2012, the 4th District Community Services Officer began to investigate a home improvement scam in Olney.  The officer determined that on June 10, 2012, a 91-year-old resident of Olney Mill Road in Olney answered his door and was met by a male and female who convinced him that his chimney needed repairs.  The victim signed an invoice agreeing to pay the suspects $825.00 to make repairs to his chimney.  Approximately twenty minutes after the suspects began to “work” on the chimney, a family member of the victim came to the home and inquired about the work.  The suspects stated that they had been working for four hours and demanded payment.  When the family member stated he would call police, the suspects left in a vehicle.  No money had exchanged hands.

During the investigation, a licensed general contractor inspected the work done by the suspects and stated that the “work” completed served no purpose and would not seal the chimney from the elements.  The officer also confirmed that the defendants did not have a license to perform home improvement work in Maryland.

Through investigation, the female suspect was identified as Virginia Breeden, age 49, of Spotsylvania, Virginia.  A warrant was obtained for her arrest in July of 2012 and she was arrested in Fairfax County, Virginia in October of 2012.  Through extradition procedures, she returned to the custody of Montgomery County on October 8, 2012.

The work invoice provided to the victim by the suspects was entered into evidence for fingerprint analysis.  In early April of 2013, the investigating officer received notice of a fingerprint match to an identified person.  The male suspect is now identified as Joseph Allen Sprinkel, age 30, of an unconfirmed address.  A warrant has been issued for Sprinkel's arrest, charging him with attempted theft under $1,000, attempted financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult over $500, conspiracy to commit theft under $1,000, conspiracy to commit financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult over $500, and acting as a contractor without a license.  Police are asking for the public's help in locating Sprinkel.

The Montgomery County Police Department wants to again remind residents of the signs of potential scammers and the Office of Consumer Protection advises homeowners to use only licensed contractors.  Be cautious of door-to-door solicitors and if you encounter people who do not seem to be providing a legitimate and legal service, call police.  Also be mindful of  senior family members and neighbors, who may be more vulnerable to these types of scams.  Report suspicious activity to the police.

If you have information on Joseph Sprinkel's whereabouts, please call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Original Press Release (July 10, 2012) :


WANTED - Joseph SprinkelWANTED - Joseph Sprinkel (Original Image)
Virginia BreedenVirginia Breeden (Original Image)

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Release ID: 13-113
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: press-releases