Home Depot Sent Registered Sex Offender To Refinish Single Woman's Cabinets

“I asked for a kitchen, and I never thought I was going to get a sex offender.”

— Home Depot customer Niki Lebrecque on learning that the home improvement store sent a convicted sex offender with an extensive history of violent attacks to refinish her cabinets.

Not only that, it turned out that the man wasn’t even a licensed contractor. Since then, Home Depot pledged to conduct a rolling series of background checks to look into all of its contractors. Even after this, WCVB investigators were able to find a few with criminal records.

Though Niki was in no way harmed, you gotta be careful who you open your door to, even if they’re coming from a brand-name store. — BEN POPKEN

Home Depot Rescreens Workers Sent Into Homes [WCVB] (Thanks to Jay!)
(Photo: IHP)

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  1. bluxed says:

    I wonder how she found out he was a registered sex offender?

  2. Red_Eye says:

    @bluxed: Probably something like http://www.mapsexoffenders.com/

    Most sex offender registries are available to the public.

  3. mwdavis says:

    And it is significant that *single* women were involved?

    Would it not be just as disturbing if the registered sex offender with a history of violent attacks were sent to the home of a married woman? Or a married woman with daughters? Or a single father with daughters?

  4. QuirkyRachel says:

    Geez, between this and the Comcast guy who murdered two women in Chicago….

  5. I think a comment I made earlier really did get lost. (Watch it show up after I post this.)

  6. mopar_man says:

    Her first mistake was going to Home Depot.

  7. DashTheHand says:

    While I agree that it was in poor interest of Home Depot to send this guy to her house, nothing happened. Yet she still goes apeshit and complains of what COULD have happened. What about the sex offenders that haven’t been caught yet, or the just everyday psychos that snap or the kleptos that steal?

    This woman doesn’t need a kitchen, she needs a hermetically sealed home.

  8. bluxed says:

    @ Red_Eye,

    I’m more wondering what made her decide to check the list. Like she got the paperwork and her copy and saw his name and was like hmm…that guy did look at me kinda strange let me see something…

    She goes to http://www.mapsexoffenders.com/ and is like AH HA!

    Just seems strange that someone would do that.

    I call BS

  9. Bay State Darren says:

    @mwdavis: I’m guessing that it’s more likely she was the only one there when he was, thus making her more vulnerable. It would be good to know if she was the sole inhabitant of the house, although since the article mentions no othe resident, I’d say that’s likely.

  10. Dancinghawk says:

    The article says she “discovered his disturbing past while he was inside her home.”

    I can only imagine the conversation went something like this:

    Customer: So how long have you been doing contracting?

    ‘Contracter’: Oh, it’s something I got into after I got out of prison.

    Customer (Thinking, uh-oh): Oh, prison. I’m sorry to hear that. (Pregnant pause.) “Why where you in prison?”

    ‘Contracter’ (Realizes he’s put his foot in it.): Ah — I was a sex offender?


    As unnerving as I would find this, there are people out there with criminal histories who, nonetheless are trying to put their lives back together and need jobs. Should those jobs ever entail being alone on location in someone’s house? That’s interesting fodder for debate.

    This was one of those expose-stories that digs deep for any dirt, however. I wonder if they plan on investigating the fact that Home Depot is sending out unlicensed contracters under their name.

  11. I went to the main article fully expecting to see that there was a violent incident at the customer’s home. Instead I see that nothing happened and one can only assume that he did the job for which he was hired.

    I’d like to know what prompted her to check up on him, and maybe a nod to the employee’s credit that my goodness, he’s been given a chance to act like an upstanding member of society and look at that… he did.

  12. not_seth_brundle says:

    @DashTheHand: Where did you see that she went apeshit? I read the article and it seems to be Team 5 Investigates that’s keeping this story going, not the HD customer.

  13. ghettoimp says:

    Playing devil’s advocate, what’s the problem here? He served his time; he didn’t assault her. The article doesn’t so much as suggest shoddy work.

    If he’s a danger to others, then his parole officer and his psychiatrist should be ensuring that he has the appropriate supervision.

  14. tcp100 says:

    “Lebrecque found out about his troubling past while he was inside her home. He did not harm her physically, but she can’t forget his presence.”

    What did she do, “Oh, he looks creepy, let me get his full name and look him up.” That’s weird.

    I really don’t understand the sex offender registries, when there’s no murderer registry or violent assault registry. This makes no sense to me, but I digress..

    Also, a good majority of sexual offenders probably didn’t mess around with adult women (or even necessarily women), if you know what I mean — so just the fact that they sent him to a “single woman’s house” doesn’t seem so relevant. Should home depot start asking for marital status of customers before sending people over? Would it have been A-OK if they sent him to a house where a 12 year old boy was home with his father?

    Need to wonder why the issue even came up if nothing happened. Your friendly mailman could be an sex offender that isn’t caught yet. Nothing happened. He didn’t do anything to her. Relax. If she “can’t forget his presence” she has more issues than this one-time incident.

  15. mac-phisto says:

    @tcp100: i am not making a statement in support of nor against the existence of the registries, however, the most probable reason they exist is b/c sex offenders have the highest rate of recidivism among criminals.

    i think the other point that is being missed is that this guy wasn’t a licensed contractor, so that whole “trying to put his life back together” doesn’t really wash. sounds more like he was committing fraud.

    home depot does use routine background checks & drug screening among applicants – my question is, if they are paying for this stuff to be done & the company that is contracted to complete it can’t even discover: 1) he’s on the sex offender registry, 2) he doesn’t hold a license, i’m wondering if there’s some criminal negligence on their part.

  16. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @not_seth_brundle: Who do you think called the news outlet in the first place? I wouldn’t say that’s her going “apeshit”, but c’mon. They didn’t just magically stumble upon her. She found out he was a registrered offender and the local news station finds out? Where’s the bridge between those two? I think it’s her – getting upset at the possibilities of what COULD have happened.

    I’m a single woman in my own house and it would scare the crap out of me knowing someone with a violent history had been so close to me in my own house, but if I lived my life wondering what *could* have happened at each twist and turn, I’d be on antidepressants until the end of time. But the fact of the matter is nothing DID happen. What’s next – are we going to start arresting people because of what we *think* they might be capable of? Approximately 4 days a month, I’m capable of at least 2 crimes punishable by the death penalty – are you going to arrest me? :)

    I’m with whomever else here on this thread thinks she’s got some other issues going on.

  17. SOhp101 says:

    Yes it is creepy that the man was a sex offender and that she was single and alone, but the reality is that he did not do anything and she is worrying about ‘what if.’ Yes in the future Home Depot and other companies that hire subcontractors should do background checks and such but stop worrying about what never actually happened. sheesh.

  18. protest says:

    $100 says this chick grows old alone with her 26 cats.

  19. XopherMV says:

    What’s with the “rolling series of background checks”? Does that mean they check ALL of their contractors and then do update checks on a regular, rolling basis? OR does that mean they sporadically check some of their contractors on a rolling basis while letting others slip through unchecked? Somehow, I think it’s the latter rather than the former.

  20. ElizabethD says:

    The flooring company we used last summer for new oak floors sent a coke addict who’d lost his driver’s license for driving under the influence, and his pack of merrie friends, to do the week-long installation. That was a bizarre, and very short-lived, experience. The store manager claimed never to have had complaints about this guy. Yeah, and I’m the Pope.

  21. Also, a good majority of sexual offenders probably didn’t mess around with adult women (or even necessarily women), if you know what I mean

    @tcp100: Women are sexually assaulted more often than men in every age group. The idea that pedophiles usually go after males is a myth.

  22. MuhammadSchwarz says:

    First, Niki was in no way harmed.
    Isn’t this the most important part? Second, the guy must have served his term, he is a former criminal and a registered one. This “news” is non-existent, or should we start poiting fingers to all the former prisoners we meet on the way to work/grocery/theatre?

  23. not_seth_brundle says:

    @MuhammadSchwarz: Surely you can see the difference between someone walking around outside in broad daylight and someone whose job it is to spend a few hours with you in your home?

  24. ShadowFalls says:

    Be warned though, Home Depot and others will only at the most verify that they are licensed contractors and their backgrounds, nothing will be checked on the ones who work for the contractor.

    Lesson: find one you can trust,same as for mechanics and computer technicians.

  25. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Oh yeah, she totally overreacted. How silly of her to be disturbed that someone sent a convicted violent sex criminal to her home — why, that’s just the sort of hysterical nonsense the little ladies get up to when they don’t have a good man in their lives to keep them grounded.

    *snort*

    Believe it or not, there are jobs out there that don’t put you alone with people in their houses — yes, even jobs that sex offenders can get, the poor, mistreated darlings! — so it’s not like eliminating this option means all sex offenders will be going homeless. It’s true, nothing happened, I swear I can’t see why everyone’s deriding this woman for not wanting a rapist in her house. This is unreasonable now??

  26. lizzybee says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: There’s no evidence in the article that the man was a convicted rapist. He could well have been convicted of showing pornographic popups to a roomful of “impressionable” teenagers. “Sex offenders” come in many varieties.

  27. snsr says:

    I think it’s interesting that a single woman would hire a stranger to come over and refinish her cabinets. I wonder what kind of a job he did?

    Ms. Lebrecque & The Consumerist; you’re calling your credibility into question.

  28. rmz says:

    pornographic popups

    Is that a new euphamism? :D

  29. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @lizzybee: Except for the part where they said he had “an extensive history of violent attacks.” I suppose I might be wrong to assume that “violent attacks” plus “sex offenses” equals “rape,” but it doesn’t seem that unlikely to me. Certainly they’re not talking about someone who exposes himself to passersby.

  30. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @snsr: I hired a plumber the other day, and I didn’t know him from Adam. Since I don’t personally know any licensed plumbers, that was pretty much my only option. This is how capitalism works, right? Someone specializes in a trade, and we pay him/her to do it instead of learning to do it ourselves.

    So she called up a supposedly reputable company and asked them to send out a contractor to do some work on her home. People do this every day, for a thousand different services. I really don’t think she was being stupid or reckless for assuming that she would receive service from a licensed professional who’d undergone appropriate background checks.

  31. ARPRINCE says:

    @protest: She’s actually 80 with one tooth left.

  32. mygirls says:

    first of all the guy didn’t do anything wrong he was just working so in
    other words he is not allowed to make a living just because he had a
    sex crime?? that’s un-American don’t you think!!!
    It’s too bad we live in a world where people are so paranoid like this
    lady but I blame the media for that and stupid people who just don’t
    know better,

  33. vkeiko says:

    For the record, in many states, employers are not allowed to fire/choose not to hire a person for being a registered sex offender. It would be discrimination unless the person was going to be unsupervised around children, like at a day care facility.
    If she is that scared of someone she shouldn’t be living by herself. I mean, some other repairman that visited her house may have raped someone and never been caught.

  34. ginnylavender says:

    I am a sex offender therapist. I work with men on probation or parole. Several men in my groups indicated that Home Depot was the place to go to get a job. Most were never asked for details about their felony convictions. One told the tale of being questioned about it explaining that it was for sexual contact with a child. He also, wink wink nudge nudge, said she was sixteen and looked older (the oh so standard story and also a lie). No more questions, and he got the job. As for the above post from vkeiko, I doubt there is a state where “sex offender” is a protected class.

  35. ginnylavender says:

    Sorry, left out the “and” before “explaining.”