Police say a man tried to rent homes that he did not own in an elaborate plan to steal quick cash.
Even police officers, who deal with all kinds of crimes, say it's incredible this could even happen.
They say Louis Moore, 37, would bust off door locks, put on new ones, and try to rent the house as their own.
Moore was arrested at a home in the 3000 block of Cumberland Woods Drive, but police say it may not be the only one connected to the crime.
Columbus resident Danielle Holloway said she was “looking for a house immediately because the situation that I'm in now is horrible.”
Holloway said a rental that Moore allegedly showed her was her dream house and she was ready to move.
“In the area we live in, there are always shootings so I just wanted to move immediately,” said Holloway. “I was like, you know I got a lot of kids. I don't want to be out on the streets, and he said, no you'll be fine. You don't have to worry about being homeless.”
She said she signed the contract and forked over all $900 she had in cash, in what she thought was a legitimate deposit.
However, she says she became suspicious of the home and the contract, and called police.
“Well, it certainly could be any neighborhood where there's foreclosed properties,” said Sgt. James Branam.
Branam said officers watched Moore lease another house to Holloway's cousin.
“He is not authorized to lease the property, so everything contained in the document is fraudulent,” said Branam
Columbus police officers arrested Moore. From his car, they say they found a number of door locks and more than $1,000 in cash.
“We recovered three different ones, and obviously one was from this house… and then that way he could say he legitimately had a key and it looked like he was authorized to be in there,” said Branam.
Now, neighbors next door to the vacant homes tell us they're baffled to see something so brazen. They say they feel badly for those who are out large chunks of cash.
“I didn't see anybody, but that's even scarier. We had no clue at all, and we're right there,” said neighbor Tiffany Clifton.
Moore faces felony charges of forgery and possession of criminal tools. Police say he could face more charges as their investigation continues.
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