Shawn Curtis Albin, a landscape worker in Jacksonville, Florida, is now behind bars, after being accused of stealing from a Hurricane Irma storm victim. According to reports, this is the 22nd time that the tree trimmer has been arrested by the Jacksonville sheriff’s office. A court hearing was held recently, with a judge setting his bond at $10,000, on the charge of felony grand theft.
Albin was allegedly hired by Jacksonville resident, Wyannette Ephron, to take care of some trees on her property that were damaged by Hurricane Irma. Ephron claims that she paid Albin $700, but that he never performed the work as promised.
This did not sit well with her son, Greg James, a retired Army veteran. “I just want to get justice for my mom,” James said.
Surveillance video from Ephron and James’ home shows Albin in the neighborhood with a clipboard in hand last month, offering estimates for his services to residents with damage from the latest storm. “The man came up, he had a sign on his truck; he had a professional shirt on, and I asked him if he could cut my trees down,” said Ephron. “He said, these are my credentials right here, and he said I have insurance, too,” Ephron added.
Because her neighbors had already hired him, she, too, felt comfortable hiring him. Ephron showed him dangerous hanging limbs, both front and back. After looking at her trees, Albin told her it would be $700 down and another $650 after he finished the job. She paid him $700 in cash and he gave her a receipt. Sometime later, Albin called, demanding the additional $650, claiming he had done the work and wanted to be paid.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson says her office is taking storm-related crimes seriously, and has designated a hotline so that victims can report any offense directly to her and her investigators. “We want to hold offenders accountable and send a message to the community that we won’t tolerate this.”