WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The owner of a Wichita Falls fencing and construction company was arrested on 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 he never even started it.
Christopher Crutcher, who owns Lonestar Fencing and Construction according to county deputies, is charged with two counts of theft, one exceeding $750 and one exceeding $2,500 according to prison records.
The first case was reported last November, when a resident told deputies she made a deal early last August for Crutcher to build a fence around her property for $7,498, and she paid him half as a deposit.
She said he told her he would be starting work in a week. When he didn’t start work that day, she said she texted him and he replied that he would start in two days.
Four days later, she said he texted her that it would start the next day, then eight days later texted that he was still waiting for the materials. Thirteen days later, he said he texted and apologized for being late, but that he would get started as soon as possible.
On Sept. 7, the client’s husband tried to find out when the work would start, and they said he’d had “unfortunate setbacks” but would start “as soon as possible.” Two weeks later the husband requested a refund of the deposit by the end of the month.
He said Crutcher said he would start returning the material for a refund. Deputies say efforts to get their money have continued without success.
One congressman spoke to Crutcher in early December and said Crutcher had told him he had gone through a terrible divorce and that his ex-wife had drained his account. The deputy said he told Crutcher that he had until the end of December to repay the money or charges would be filed, and provided Crutcher with a copy of the contract at Crutcher’s request.
Toward the end of the month, the MP said Crutcher asked for 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 filed case, police said a resident said he struck a deal with Crutcher late last August and paid him $2,025 upfront, or half the cost of a new fence.
In early February, police said no work had 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 that when he gave Crutcher a deadline for payment or he would go to court, Crutcher replied that no deadline could be set because there was no set date for the project to be completed.
When a police sergeant contacted Crutcher on January 10, he said Crutcher had agreed to make the repayment within three weeks and warned Crutcher that if it was not made, a warrant would be issued for his arrest.
Records from the Better Business Bureau show the company is not a BBB accredited business, and three complaints were filed in 2022 with similar issues.
A man reported asking for more than $3,000 back, and the owner stopped responding. Another complained that the work was never completed and the trash and debris from the work was never collected.
Another client reported being told he could pay half the cost upfront, but the client paid the full amount and was promised the project would be completed in two to three weeks or refunded, but after repeated texting, he stopped getting a reply.
Jail records show Crutcher was booked on Monday and posted his $12,500 bonds on Tuesday, February 14.