TEXARKANA, Texas–A man who has allegedly operated similar schemes in the past has been charged with exploiting an elderly man who thought he was getting a sweet deal on a zero-turn mower.
Torin Lynn Smith, 55, allegedly approached the man while he was shopping at Lowe’s on Walton Dr. in Texarkana, Texas, on May 8. Smith struck up a conversation with the older man and offered to sell him a mower for $1,000 explaining that he was a driver for Home Depot and that someone who had ordered the mower had died and that he had been authorized to sell it, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The man offered Smith $500 for the equipment and drove himself and Smith to a nearby Walmart to pull cash from an ATM. The two then headed to Home Depot where Smith took the money as the two headed inside. While there, Smith allegedly pretended to speak to a female store manager on his phone who reportedly “assured the victim” she worked at the store.
While at Home Depot, Smith left the man outside while he went in the store and never returned. Fortunately, the elderly man had taken a photo of Smith while the two were in his truck and shared the image with police.
“Smith has a documented history of committing very similar ruse scam thefts using almost identical methods,” the affidavit said. “In past related incidents, Smith promises to sell discounted lawn mowers or electronics at area retailers.”
According to the affidavit, Smith’s arrests for conning people date back to “at least 2012” and in “most of the scams, Smith enters through one of the main store entrances and later exits with the victim’s money out of a lawn and garden exit.”
“Smith was arrested for committing almost identical ruse scams against two other elderly victims in 2015 [and] he was charged with exploitation of the elderly,” the affidavit said.
Smith has been charged with theft of property and exploitation of the elderly. He is being held in the Bowie County jail with bonds totaling $85,000.
If convicted of theft of property, Smith faces six months to two years in a state jail. If found guilty of exploiting the elderly man, he could receive two to ten years in a Texas prison.
The case has been assigned to 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. No hearings are currently set.