Arrest warrant out for tradie who family accuses of rip-off
POLICE have renewed their call for the community to be on the lookout for a wanted man after a Woodgate family claims he ripped them off when their father died.
David Robert Matthews stepped in to help the grieving family clean up their parents' estate after they had both died from cancer.
But Sue Von Ritcher says Mr Matthews cleaned them out, instead of cleaning the place up.
The family claim they were "taken advantage of" after a verbal agreement was made with the man, believed to be living in Bargara.
Ms Von Ritcher's father, Jack Cooper, died from cancer last month. She was tasked to have the home re-carpeted and cleaned.
Living in Brisbane, Ms Von Ritcher's sister asked tradesmen if they knew anyone who would clean out her late parent's shed.
This is when the family claim Mr Matthews offered to help clean the shed in exchange for any items of value that he found he could keep.
Ms Von Ritcher claims he arrived at 6am and loaded a trailer with items of value including a ride-on lawn mower, a collection of power tools and two push mowers.
"Unfortunately he made one trip - took anything of value and we have never seen him again," Ms Von Ritcher said.
"We are now left with a ... clean-up bill and feel that we have dishonoured our late father's memory."
However, Mr Matthews (pictured) denies the claims he ripped off the family.
He said thge original arrangement was that he did $1600 worth of work and paid Ms Von Richter $500 in order to take the items.
"What I got wasn't worth it," Mr Matthews said.
"I took some items from the shed after I laid carpet."
Contacting the police Ms Von Ritcher was told, because there was an agreement made, it was a civil matter rather than a criminal matter.
Bundaberg Inspector Pat Swindells confirmed David Robert Matthews was wanted on a warrant for allegedly failing to appear in 2011 at a Southport court on stealing charges.
Insp Swindells said police had renewed their call for people to be on the lookout for the wanted man after the recent complaint made them believe he'd resurfaced in the region.
"Police are anxious to speak to this man," Insp Swindells said.
"We ask the community when getting work done to make sure it is from a reputable company."
When asked about the warrant for his arrest, Mr Matthews said he had been to jail 18 months ago in Victoria for "personal reasons" and was unaware of any outstanding matters.
"I went to jail and everything outstanding was cleared up," he said.
Mr Matthews said he would visit the local police station to clear any further issues.
In 2014, NSW police put out a public appeal for help to locate Mr Matthews.
"If members of the public see Mr Matthews, they are urged.... to contact 000 immediately," the appeal said.
Neither NSW police nor Victoria police could confirm yesterday if Mr Matthews had warrants outstanding.