Notorious Yakima con man is reportedly on the prowl again

SELAH, Wash. -- Johnny Brown is a Yakima 'handyman' who promises a deal to trim your trees. But, police say he's a con man who's ripped off up to 47 people.

"You know, it almost sounded too good to be true," Kyle Bruce said.
Kyle claims to be one of Johnny Browns latest victims. He fell for the offer and put up cash to close the deal.

"He told me 15 bucks a week, he would mow my yard, put the water on, fertilize it, weed my stuff," Kyle said.

But, Kyle never saw the work. And, he's not alone in his Selah neighborhood. Another neighbor tells KIMA her elderly mother was recently duped by Johnny Brown.

Brown has a history of complaints like this. Last summer, a neighborhood in Yakima was ripped off. People there told me they paid cash for tree-trimming jobs that Brown never finished. Large stumps were left behind.

KIMA brought the latest complaints to Yakima police to find out how this is allowed to continue.

"Well, we have to follow statute obviously," Light said. "Would we love to just go nab this guy and hook him up for stealing, for taking from old people and not completing a service for them, absolutely."

Light says they can't arrest him because neighbors agree to pay him first. That is not a crime.

"It ties the law enforcement's hands in terms of taking corrective action," Light said.

Brown has a history of working without a business license and has been jailed in the past. But, until police find him ripping someone off on the job, they can't do much.

It's something Kyle and his neighbors can only hope for.

To get all sides, we called Johnny Brown's cell phone several times today, but he didn't answer or return our calls.

In an interview last year, Johnny Brown told KIMA he does 'honest work.'