LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Seagraves Police allege one man scammed more than a dozen residents out of nearly $50,000, and he spoke to KCBD about the allegations. He admits to owing the people of Seagraves money, but he said his time in prison reformed him and he doesn’t believe he is a scammer.
Casey Harper moved to Seagraves last spring and opened Knucklehead’s garage.
Police believe Harper would take money from people and not work on their car. They said at times he would take parts from a customer’s car and use it in another’s. Some people never got their car back.
Police say they believe Harper has made a career out of this, scamming people across Texas and New Mexico for years.
He recently moved to Bay City, Texas to open a new shop. There, he was arrested for a 1998 burglary charge. He is now out.
Seagraves Chief of Police, Brent Grundstrom, said it is a very unique situation.
“I’ve only been here a couple years, but as far as I’ve heard and talked to other people, there’s never been such an impact by somebody’s crime spree,” Grundstrom said.
Grudstrom said the individual cases have been civil matter thus far, but if enough people come forward they might be able to show a pattern of fraud.
One man, Henry Griffin, said he has been scammed out of nearly $2,000 by Casey Harper.
Griffin said he went to Harper to get a new motor, who promised it would not take long.
“Every day I went up there he said we’re going to get you out tonight and he had that car in there over a year. It’s still in there now. I went down there and he said you forgot to pay me $250 before I start. I said okay, so I gave it to him, I had went to bingo and won it,” Griffin said.
In a phone interview, Harper said he owed people in Seagraves money.
“I owe Mr. Henry money, I owe Ms. Carmichael money. I owe the Seagraves auto part store money. I owe these people money,” Harper said.
But, Harper said he’s not a scammer.
“There was a point in time in my life before I went to the penitentiary to where you could have argued and had a legitimate argument to where that would have been true,” Harper said.
Harper said he’s different now, and the reason he left town was because the situation was getting violent.
“The people of Seagraves I owe, I will pay. It’s embarrassing to have to leave the way that we left. But, they were spitting on my children, they were fighting in school,” Harper said.
A Facebook page has been created as a place for alleged victims of Harper’s scam to meet, it has more than 330 members.
Harper said because of the information shared on the page, he was arrested in Bay City and had to shut down his shop.
“If I can’t work, I can’t make money. If I can’t make money, I can’t pay the debts,” Harper said.
Harper said he is working as hard as he can to get back on his feet. He said when he does, he will pay the residents of Seagraves what he owes them.
“There is probably a few thousand dollars in debt that I owe to Seagraves that I need to pay,” Harper said, “That will be done, and it will be taken care of.”
Harper said Griffin will be the first person he pays back.