WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The owner of a Wichita Falls fencing and construction company was arrested for two counts of theft after residents said they paid him to build fences, and, despite repeated calls and texts, he never did the work – in fact never even started it.
Christopher Crutcher, who county deputies say owns Lonestar Fencing and Construction, is charged with two counts of theft, one over $750 and one over $2,500 according to jail records.
The first case was reported last November when a resident told deputies she made an agreement early last August for Crutcher to build a fence around her property for $7,498, and paid him half as a deposit.
She said he told her he would start work in a week. When he didn’t start work that day, she said she texted him, and he replied he would start in two days.
Four days later, she said he texted her it would be started the next day, then eight days later he texted he was still waiting on materials. Thirteen days later, she said he texted and apologized for the delay but would start as soon as possible.
On September 7, the customer’s husband tried to find out when the job would start, and they said he told them he had had “unfortunate setbacks” but would begin “as soon as possible.”
Two weeks later the husband asked for a refund of the deposit by the end of the month.
He said Crutcher said he would start returning material for a refund. Deputies say efforts to get their money continued with no success.
A deputy spoke to Crutcher in early December and said Crutcher told him he had gone through a terrible divorce and his ex-wife drained his account. The deputy said he told Crutcher he had until the end of December to refund the money or charges would be filed, and he provided Crutcher a copy of the contract at Crutcher’s request.
Near the end of the month, the deputy said Crutcher requested more time so he could repay the deposit with his income tax refund. The deputy checked with the customers and they told him to proceed with the theft charges.
In the other case filed, police said a resident said he made an agreement with Crutcher late last August and paid him $2,025 up front, or half the cost of a new fence.
As of early February, police said no work has been completed, despite the customer making numerous calls to find out when it would start. The customer said efforts to get answers were met with one excuse after another and that Crutcher agreed to refund the money, but never did.
He said when he gave Crutcher a deadline on paying or he would go to court, Crutcher replied that no deadline could be set because there was no set date for completion of the project.
When a police sergeant contacted Crutcher on January 10, he said Crutcher agreed to make the refund within three weeks, and he warned Crutcher if it wasn’t made, a warrant would be issued for his arrest.
Better Business Bureau records show the company is not a BBB accredited business, and there were three complaints filed in 2022 with similar problems.
One man reported they asked for more than $3,000 back, and the owner stopped responding.
Another complained the job was never finished, and the trash and debris from the work was never picked up.
Another customer reported he was told he could pay half the cost at the start, but the customer paid the full amount and was promised the project would be finished in two to three weeks or money back, but after repeated messages, he stopped getting a response.
Jail records show Crutcher was booked on Monday and posted his $12,500 bonds Tuesday, February 14.