SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — When the Scotch Plains fire department responded to a call for help on May 28 in the pouring rain, they were disheartened to arrive at the home of John Mulligan, who told them a man posing as a roofer knocked on his door, told him the roof needed repairs, and then took his money without doing the work. Adding insult to injury, the scammer went on the roof and pulled off a few shingles, which ultimately caused water damage to the home.
“We were dispatched to the address for reported water leak. When we got to the scene, we met Mr. Mulligan,” Scotch Plains fire captain William Bowman told TAPintoSPF. “He had a water pouring through his roof during a rainstorm. He told us that he had hired a contractor came and removed a large portion of his roof and never came back.”
The firefighers put up salvage tarps to mitigate the water leak and contacted Deegan Roofing for help. Owner Brian Deegan said that he would donate a new roof for Mr. Mulligan’s home.
“That’s why are here now showing support for local company,” Bowman said.
“I’ve been in business for over 35 years. We come out will give you estimates free estimates. We don’t call you (to solicit business), you call us,” Deegan said. “Reputable companies don’t knock on doors. Nobody should be knocking on your door for anything. If you don’t feel like answering your door, don’t.”
Mr. Mulligan said the man gave him a business card and then took it back. The scammer told him the house needed a new roof and that he had a crew in the area.
“I fell for it hook, line, and sinker,” said Mr. Mulligan, 83, an army veteran who lives alone and has no children to check on him. “He took the money (several thousand dollars), and it was ‘See you, later’.”
“When I came here, I could see on his face that he was just now is totally destroyed. That’s when I decided to go back to the office and see what we could do. We put our heads together and came up with this idea,” Deegan said.
Deegan wants to warn the public that predators are looking to take advantage of people.
“It’s very important — if anybody knocks on your door, call the police. It’s illegal to select solicit business by going to people’s houses,” Deegan advises. “Check a company’s Better Business Bureau rating. Companies should have a license, insurance, and be registered with the Better Business Bureau.”
“We feel great to be able to help Mr. Mulligan. To see the expression on his face when we told him we were taking care of it — there are no words to describe the feeling,” Deegan said. “I’ve been in this business since 1989, and my son, Jun, is now taking over. This community is great; I grew up in Westfield and live in Scotch Plains. This is where my business is, we do 85% of our work in this community.”
Jun said the work would be completed in one day.
“Most of the time we do a roof, we finish it the same day,” he said. “With the extent of damage that was done in the back portion of his house we’re taking the whole roof off and putting a new one.”
Scotch Plains Township Manager Al Mirabella said he was proud of the fire department for answering the call to Mr. Mulligan’s house and for making sure that he would be okay.
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