On March 22th, Robert Smith says two men knocked on his front door -- offering to inspect his septic system -- for free.
“Their initial offer was to come out and give us a free inspection and estimate for any free repairs, so I said, what have I got to lose?" lamented Anderson resident Robert Smith.
That free inspection wasn't so free after all; in fact the inspection turned into major repairs and came with a major price tag.
“They then said they needed to pump the tanks out and quoted a price of $275 and once they completed their work,” said Grimes County Sheriff’s Investigator JJ Jones. “They demanded a check for $2,205 which the gentleman did in fact write them.”
The Coopers allegedly demanded the money up front with the agreement to finish the repairs.
"They came with their truck and a tank in the back with the hoses and I didn’t find them to be suspicious at all,” said Smith.
Smith's family members contacted the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office with concerns of a possible scam. Further investigation, coupled with numerous reports from victims in surrounding counties continued surfacing. Enough evidence was gathered to issue warrants for 45-year-old Audie Cooper and his son Audie Murphy Cooper the second.
“I just get chill bumps just thinking about it,” explained Madison County resident Peggy Davis.
Peggy Davis says Cooper even came to her rural Madison County home about a month-and-a-half ago and quoted her $500.
"I said well, no my husband isn't here so let's not do that, and he said 'it's for free, and I said, No, I'd rather talk to my husband,” said Davis. “It just really scary because he came to my house and after seeing his face and hearing his name on the news, I just thought to myself, ‘Wow, that could have been us.’ “
Davis says it hit too close to home but she's thankful the only thing she's left with -- is a business card.
Audie Murphy Cooper was arrested last week; however, his father Audie Cooper Sr. is still at large. Exploitation of an Elderly or Disabled Individual is a 3rd Degree Felony.