Lowes Steals Money From Old Lady's House, Threatens To Sue Her For Slander

Subcontractors working for Lowes stole money hidden in a reader’s elderly mother’s bedroom. When the mother complained, Lowes threatened to sue her for slander.

A cautionary tale for anyone with elderly family or friends, inside…

(Photo: rcrowley)

Heather writes:

Dear Consumerist

Longtime reader here with a story about a crime committed in my parents home this past Friday.

My parents have often used Lowes home installment services for little jobs around the house. This time it was a new front door installation, since the first one had warped over time and no longer closed properly. My Mother had gone to the bank that morning and withdrawn their weekly petty cash, gone home, and dispersed it throughout 3 different places in their bedroom. The workmen showed up later with the new door and started installation.

My Mother, being a trusting soul and not thinking about someone possibly rifling through her personal belongings, went next door to feed and care for my Grandfather. This was only a 30 minute trip. When she returned, the workers were done and had left, the new door now installed. This was all between 3 and 4pm

At 5pm, my Father comes home and goes to get his weekly allowance from one of the places they kept cash hidden in the bedroom. Surprisingly, $100 of the money was missing. My Mother then checked all of the cash, and in total $295 was missing from the home. Obviously, these guys had gone thoroughly through my parents things to find this money.

The Police were called, and they were told to call Lowes. That it was Lowes responsibility to press charges. So my mother calls them. And is told that they would have to press charges. Which is pretty difficult, as Lowes will not tell my parents the names of the Sub Contractors who came to her home. Lowes also informed my parents that unless fingerprints could be pulled, that if my parents pressed charges and could not prove guilt, they would be sued for slander.

My Mother has unfortunately given up without a fight. She says she doesn’t have the time or strength to fight over such a small amount of money. My Grandmother just passed away, and with all of the red tape they have had to go through, I think they are pretty discouraged.

Basically, I just want to put out the word that Lowes Sub Contracted a team of guys who were willing to sift through someones private home to take money. And now will not take responsibility for it, or even let my parents take the responsibility for themselves. They then said that my parents would be sued if definite proof could not be given. The sad thing is, they succeeded in discouraging my parents into giving up the fight. My Mother says they are just writing it off as a really expensive door. But to me, this means these guys will just go to another house and do the same thing again, and again, and again.

Thanks for the ear, and thanks for a great and informative website.

We wrote back, “That is incredibly messed up. If you’re interested we can try and help out. Sounds to us like a Lowes manager just badgering your mother. If corporate found out, he might be singing a different tune.”

Heather replied,

My Mother says she did write a letter to the Main office. But I don’t know if it will do much good. I do think that it needs to be at least brought to their attention via phone or otherwise. The main concern is that Lowes does not keep sending that particular crew to jobsites to repeat this crime.

Yes, I do think the Manager or whomever she spoke with was just trying to push her off. The whole “Slander” threat was a big tip off. I know that in a Slander case, you have to prove that the defendant did indeed lie. And there is no proof on either side right now. Regardless, since Lowes is the Contractor in this case, I think they are the responsible party.

Basically, they are not going to press charges. Mom is pretty discouraged. And to top it all off, my Grandmother died at the first of the month. And Social Security has been piling on the red tape. At the same time, she is caring for my Grandfather 24/7 who cannot talk clearly or walk on his own. My parents are just chalking it up to a really expensive door. But they feel violated. These guys really had to have gone through the whole room to find this money.

Just getting the word out for people to be cautious is the most important thing to me. Especially to the older crowd, like my parents, who are so trusting of people.

Sub-contractors ripping customers off by not completing work is one thing, but to outright rifle through an old lady’s bedroom and steal cash, that’s low, low low. The only thing lower than that would be if she called and complained and the manager threatened to sue her…

It’s unfortunate that Heather’s mother won’t be pressing charges. That’s really the only way to bring these scumbags to justice. Hopefully Lowes corporate will see the light and step up.

In the meantime, warn your elderly friends and family that if they have strangers come over to work on their house to not leave the house while they’re working on it.

Yet another story about home-improvement warehouse subcontractors behaving criminally. This industry needs to be reined in. — BEN POPKEN