Police say a local man terrorized a 90-year-old war hero and forced him to hand over $28,000.
According to authorities, 47-year-old Paul Harris, a convicted child molester with a long criminal record, first showed up at the Watkinsville home wanting to do yard work and odd jobs.
The work never got done, but the 300-pound heavily tattooed man allegedly kept coming back, demanding money from the elderly man who lives there, a retired Navy captain who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
"After they looked at bank records, got canceled checks, we found out that what we thought was a couple hundred dollars turned into almost $28,000," said Watkinsville Police Chief Lee O'Dillon.
The 90-year-old victim told FOX 5's Justin Gray that he was afraid of Harris. He says Harris would come to the house, demanding money and refuse to leave until he would finally write him a check
"This man, he was targeted exactly because he's elderly and would not and could not stand up to this man. He would just give in and take the path of least resistance, give him what he wanted, to get rid of him," said O'Dillon.
Police say the victim wrote 38 checks totaling more than $28,000 before his out-of-state son contacted authorities.
Harris is already out on bond. His uncle, who answered the door of his Barrow County home, said he didn't know anything about the arrest.
The victim is OK, but police say it's doubtful he'll get back any of the money he lost. Police believe there are more elderly victims out there and would like to hear from them.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV 3213 West Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, Florida 33609 Main: (813) 876-1313 Newsroom: (813) 870-9630 Fax: (813) 871-3135