Property owner ripped off for thousands by man posing as possible renter

A Detroit property owner is out thousands thanks to an opportunistic thief.

"If it doesn't seem right, it's probably not," said Gaston Nash.

That's what Nash keeps reminding himself this Labor Day realizing he was duped.

"I really feel like this guy is trying to scam people," he said.

Nash, who lives on Monica Street near McNichols and Livernois on the city's west side, also owns the home next door.  Nash hoped to rent it out.  He received an application from an enthusiastic young man on Sunday.

"He was very eager to move in," Nash said. "He wanted to pay two months’ rent in advance, just to get into the house."

Nash gave the man a 5-minute tour of the home that afternoon, but when he was able to take a closer look at his rental application he came across fake information.

"Everything on the application - other than his cell phone number was false," Nash said.

He said the man's current address - came up as McDonald's and no phone numbers for his references worked.

"It didn't jive," Nash said. "I wasn't going to consider him. He never gave me any money."

But Nash says later that night, the power went out at his rental property - and if that wasn't an eerie enough:  He says around 3:45 a.m. - he heard some banging and crashing.

"(I looked and) I see somebody with a T-shirt and shorts on and a flashlight," Nash said. "And I saw two large work trucks. I was nervous to go out because I had my daughter. I didn't know if they had weapons or not."

The work trucks sped off as Nash called Detroit police. After heading over to the property he noticed a crack in one of the windows - and his air conditioning unit and hot water heater were missing. About $4,000 worth of property - gone.
"I really worked hard for my stuff and to have folks to scam to take stuff from you, it's really painful," he said.

Nash says, after searching further, he doesn't believe the man even used his real name. He worries he's a seasoned scammer set to do it again.

"If you see something that's even a little out of whack," he said. "Don't even talk to the person anymore."