Tips on protecting yourself after local contractor accused of stealing, selling jewelry

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local contractor allegedly stole valuables from the home he was working on.

It’s the time of year when many people are renovating their homes, but it’s important to know who you’re letting inside to do the work.

“They’re in your house, which is something very personal to everybody and a protected safe place,” Golenne Kortz, of Curtis Lumber, said.

Kortz said trust is the key when finding a contractor.

“They’re there while you’re at work or while you’re away for the weekend,” she said.

But no matter how much trust you have in the contractor, Kortz said you must keep your valuables locked in a safe place.

On June 9, New York State Police arrested 42-year-old Jonathan Hutchison, a contractor in the Saratoga Springs area. Police said they found he was selling jewelry he stole from a home he was working in.

To not fall victim, Kortz said to do research before hiring a contractor.

“Make sure that they actually did do great work and it’s not somebody that could be deceiving you,” she said.

Look through Facebook, Angie’s List, or any business listing to verify history, and read reviews. Also, ask the potential worker for references so you can check out their past jobs.

“Evaluate the type of work, the craftsmanship,” Kortz advised.

Kortz said any contractor from New York should have a business license and other paperwork showing they’re paying taxes.

“That would probably, you know, help you relate that they’re not just someone doing work, unfortunately, out of the back of their truck,” she said.

And no matter what, make sure to have a signed contract.

“Always protect yourself; always be cautious,” Kortz said.

Hutchison was charged with one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree. Anyone who believes they fell victim to Hutchison or who may be missing jewelry or rare coins should contact police at (518) 583-7010.

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