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Beware of appliance repair scam

COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- If you need repairs for any of your appliances, you might want to pay attention to a warning from Cobb County Police.

They are looking for a suspect who has scammed consumers out of thousands of dollars.

Since January, six Cobb County residents have filed criminal complaints against 37-year-old Jonathan Davis. Cobb Police Lt. Destiny Davidson said Davis is a suspect in similar scams in DeKalb, Douglas and Fulton counties. She said he purports to be an appliance repair man.

"He does an initial examination of their appliance and usually says we'll have to order this part or that part and requests money up front," Lt. Davidson said.

Even though she's not alone, Jennifer Ciarletta of Marietta said she feels embarrassed that she and her husband were duped by Davis.

"There's a part of you that feels silly and there's a part of you that's like, then you get kind of mad," she said.

Ciarletta said her dishwasher broke and she reached out to Davis after searching online for someone to repair it. "So what he told my husband was that it was $240 for a part plus $150 for the repairs, and he needed the money for the part up front," she said.

Her husband wrote the check for $240 and Davis cashed it immediately. She said he never came back to their house to fix the dishwasher.

Marietta resident Claudia Morace said she wrote Davis a check for $500 for a part to fix her expensive stove. She said Davis had the audacity to come back to her house and tell her she needed more work.

"The second time he came out, it was just for another check for $124 and I've never heard from him again," Morace said. "Besides the fact that I work hard for my money, as most people do, the second thing that hurts is I feel stupid. I feel that I was taken advantage of and should have known better."

Lt. Davidson said the victims got in touch with Jonathan Davis by Googling "appliance repairs." She said Davis was able to manipulate Google so that his bogus companies would come up at the top of the list. She listed three of his companies as Apex Appliance, Atlanta Appliance and Triple Crown Movers.

"Apparently he's also learned to link himself into actual reputable businesses, so that when people click on those businesses it re-directs to his phone number somehow," Lt. Davidson said.

Police are asking anyone who knows where Davis is to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS(8477).

Police suggest the following if you need appliance repairs:

* Get a referral from a friend or neighbor

* Contact the company who made the appliance for repairmen

* Contact the Better Business Bureau

If you are referred to someone, police suggest you read reviews about the referral online. A search of Jonathan Davis' name came up with several complaints about similar scams.

You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kgrowson