PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland police detectives say they have identified two men who were soliciting local businesses then ripping them off.
Investigators said as recently as this summer, Robert Chang-Syck Jun, 51, and Kevin Youn, 41, would go door-to-door to small businesses in Portland offering to set up a video surveillance system that can be accessed from the Internet.
They would collect deposits, police said, with a promise to come back and install the systems. But when it came time to do the work, victims said the men never showed up or returned calls.
The deposits ranged from $600 to $1,250. Many of the businesses targeted were owned by minorities, police said.
Victims told police that Jun and Youn had business cards, brochures, invoices and showed up wearing ID badges.
Three victims told police the suspects operated under the business name "Security One," although when detectives started digging they couldn't find any business registered under that name.
Police said the suspects also had businesses listed under the names "Advanced Digital Security," "ADI" and "JUNTEC Systems."
One victim, Victoria Gomez, who owns Tanelli's Doughnuts, told KATU News Friday night the men sold her on a system they said would protect her against thefts.
She considered getting a security system and surveillance cameras because her business is open until midnight and she worries what could happen at her Alberta neighborhood doughnut shop. Besides, she was robbed in February.
But she wasn't sure where to get that needed security or who she could trust with the investment she's made in her business.
Then two men walked in and laid their cards on the counter and even showed Gomez their website.
"They were very professionally spoken. I believe they were Korean," she said.
Gomez' husband was in the kitchen making doughnuts but he agreed they should get a surveillance system.
So Gomez signed a contract with the men, paid them $600 and agreed to pay another $600.
Both Jun and Youn contacted a KATU News reporter late Friday night by phone. They both said the business is legitimate but one said they were in financial trouble and haven't been able to install the systems.
Both men live in Lake Oswego and said they didn't know police were looking for them.
After the KATU story aired at 11 p.m. Friday, one of the men called back and said they were going to install Gomez' security system Saturday morning. He said he will make all of his customers whole. Gomez confirmed to KATU News she had received a call from the man and that he had told her his business would install the system Saturday morning.
Detectives say they are still continuing their investigation and would like to hear from anyone who might be a victim of similar fraud.
Anyone with information can call Detective Cheryl Waddell of the White Collar Crime Detail at (503) 823-0697 or email her at Cheryl.Waddell@PortlandOregon.gov.
Here are a couple things you should consider when hiring a contractor:
- Make sure they're licensed with the state by checking the secretary of state's searchable business records online.
- And if they do plumbing, roofing or other contractor work, make sure they're licensed on the Construction Contractor's Board.
Do not pay anyone up front before you make sure you can trust them.