MOORE, OKLA. – Most of us watched the horrifying images play out on live TV.
We all remember the tornado path and the iconic image of the lone inferno in its aftermath.
That was Pastor Brent Avery’s rental home.
“The tornado hit on Monday,” he said. “We weren’t able to get to the property until a couple weeks later when we returned from a trip from Israel.”
The preacher and his wife were in the holy land leading a tour group.
When they returned to Oklahoma , they say Ronald Roberts snared them into a rebuild contract totaling more than $100,000.
Pastor Avery said, “[He] represented his business as being faith based, Christian based organization and that kind of appealed to me as a believer.”
In the end, the preacher says he was duped by Roberts to the tune of about $40,000.
“The reality was after he left the lot in the condition it was and took the money from us we no longer had the ability to rebuild,” Avery said.
Roberts not only says he’s a religious man, but claims to travel the country helping natural disaster victims do “clean up, demolition, restoration and rebuilds.”
We did some checking.
None of the companies or government agencies we talked to have any ties to Roberts or his company.
They say he’s using their logos without permission.
Roberts is becoming a regular on our news channel.
Last month he was held at gunpoint by a rancher in Garfield County.
“He was stealing stuff that I worked hard for and based on his size, that was a weapon to me,” Mike Diel said.
Pastor Avery saw our report.
“Ron was a college football player,” he said. He’s a big guy, two of me, so when that rancher pulled out his gun and said, ‘Get on the ground.’ That was a wise move. He’s a big boy.”
We can’t talk to Roberts because he’s still locked up in the Garfield County jail.
Meanwhile, back in Moore, Pastor Avery was forced to sell his property because he no longer has enough money to rebuild.
“We’re not getting our money back from him,” he said. “I know that, but if it can stop him and protect someone else, that’s kind of where we’re at.”
Pastor Avery is already shopping around for new rental properties.
As it stands now, Roberts posted bond in Garfield County, but authorities won’t release him because he’s wanted in Mcclain County on a separate domestic assault and battery case.
Officials there tell me they plan to extradite Roberts in the coming week.
We’ll check back.