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Septic deal reeks of abuse

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:40 am

An Anderson senior was allegedly scammed with his own check.

A door-to-door father and son duo selling a free septic system inspection walked away with $2,205 after they claimed they cleaned out a septic tank for 84-year-old Robert Smith of Anderson and his 80-year-old disabled wife Nancy on Feb. 22. Now Bryan/College Station residents, Audie Murphy Cooper and Audie Murphy Cooper II, are facing third-degree felony charges for exploitation of an elderly or disabled individual.

Grimes County Sheriff’s Office Investigator JJ Jones said the lack of services might have been overlooked had the alleged scammers chosen a victim who wasn’t related to a law enforcement officer.

The incident was reported to investigators three days after it occurred.

Jones said after the free offer was accepted, Smith showed the Cooper’s where his two 500-gallon septic tanks were located in the rear of his house. The Cooper’s allegedly told Smith that the tanks would have to be pumped out and gave a $275 quote.

After Smith watched the two men park a white truck near the tanks and was told the truck was equipped with a square tank in its bed, he told investigators he returned to his home while the subjects reportedly worked. In less than two hours, the Cooper’s handed Smith an invoice in the amount of $2,205 and claimed they also had to unstop the drainpipe.

Smith paid the two men with a $2,205 check written out to Buggy Septic Service for services Jones said were never rendered. About an hour later, the Cooper’s returned to the residence and claimed they needed another check made payable to Audie Cooper since the initial check could not be cashed.

“We had certified people go look at the septic system and the services they claimed to have been providing had not been done,” Jones said.

The investigator also contacted up to 10 certified technicians who informed him Smith had also been “grossly overcharged.”

A probable cause statement shows that removal of the ‘T’ to the leech field pipe, which was reportedly done by the Cooper’s, would actually allow solid waste to enter and clog the leech field pipe.

There are other possible victims in Robertson County and Moody. More victims are predicted, Jones said, since one of the men has a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality permit for sludge transport to a wastewater facility in Hearne. However, the facility has no record of transports by either man since Jan. 1.

Jones said, “I know there have been other attempts near Iola. If we have other victims out there, they may not realize they have been scammed.”

Citizens should be aware that door-to-door offers for septic system inspections are highly unusual. Also, costs for sludge removal is typically about .35 to .40 per gallon, Jones said.

“And if they offered to clean out a leech pipe with a Roto-Rooter, that’s impossible,” Jones said.

March 14, the Smith’s paid A-Plus Septic Service $380 to pump 1,000 gallons of waste from the septic tanks and $20 to repair the ‘T’ to the leech field pipe.

Cooper’s 22-year-old son was arrested at his residence on March 28. Jones said a relative of the 45-year-old father was notified of a warrant for Cooper’s arrest on April 10. Cooper turned himself in on April 19.

Each man was released on a $10,000 bond, set by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Joe Imhoff.

Jones said other Grimes County residents who were offered the same free septic system inspection by the Cooper’s turned the men away.

Anyone who has been offered a free septic system, whether money was paid for related services presented or not, is asked to contact the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office at 936-873-2151.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Bryan and Navasota posted at 7:10 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Bryan and Navasota Posts: 1

    These 2 people arrested are from Bryan Texas.

    Bryan Texas is not College Station Texas. Bryan and CS have to totally different city GOV.
    Bryan is a Poor town Like Navasota. both have poor schools system and both have Drug gangs running the cities. Hookers drug addicted people can be found in both Nav and Bryan. You could say Navasota is a mini Bryan with the same types of 3rd and 4th gen welfare families living in HUD units in their Poverty slums and Ghetto's.

    College Station is a wealth working city. CS has more wealth then any area in the Brazos Valley. The people of CS work at the best colleges in the USA.

    Anytime you see a crime like this in this area you can bet it has a Navasota are Bryan person doing the crime almost always

  • bluidgenie posted at 11:08 am on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    bluidgenie Posts: 1

    I work in Bryan and the father always comes around our business trying to sell leftover asphault topping from roads and highways and so this doesn't suprise me that they are trying to scam someone with something. I knew I didn't trust him and felt that he was trying to scam on that. Once I saw a picture of the son I knew it had to be his father that came around here.

  • 77861 posted at 10:39 am on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    77861 Posts: 17

    This is the first article I have seen that mentions 'Buggy's". The son had come out to our property in Iola a while back saying he wanted to service the area his dad once serviced. Since we had not made a call for service, and are leery of people just showing up on our property, we declined his service at that time. He left his number with us on a piece of scrap paper that I still have held onto our refridgerator with a magnet. Glad I never called them!