Local tree service flees, leaving equipment, taking money for incomplete work

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 8:07 PM

 (KMOV) -- The owner of a tree service who has been chased down by the News 4 Investigative crew is reportedly up to their old tricks.

In the latest incident, he left his equipment behind but not before taking money from the homeowner for a job not completed.

Mike Kleeschulte’s Ferguson home was one of the thousands damaged on May 31 when six tornadoes blew through the St. Louis Area.

A huge limb broke off a tree in his backyard with some limbs landing on his car.  Workers with a tree service, Out on a Limb, were nearby and offered to do the job.

“They cut the trees off the top of my cars, and noticed the tree, this tree was topped out.. Limbs hanging there and said they could take care of that too,” said Kleeschulte.

The price tag was $400 to take down the entire tree.

Things started well until the crew dropped a limb on a wire, knocking out power. After the incident, the crew took off, leaving their climbing gear behind.

Kleeschulte said he called Out on a Limb Tree Service several times but never heard back.

State records show the owner is Matthew Craig of St. Charles; he is on probation for forgery and possession of a controlled substance.

Last year, the News 4 Investigates crew chased him down when a homeowner accused him of the same thing, taking her money, starting a job, and then disappearing.

Ten months later, News 4’s Mike Colombo went to Craig’s home but no one answered the door. News 4 contacted Craig’s probation officer to make him aware of the accusations against Craig.

Stay with News 4 as we continue to follow up on this story.

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