State Briefs 11/19/09

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

AG Madigan sues contractor over fence projects

ROCKFORD – Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit in Winnebago County Circuit Court on Thursday alleging that a Rockford contractor agreed to remove or install fences but failed to complete the projects, or performed them in a substandard manner.

The lawsuit alleges that Michael J. Thelen, who owns and operates Thelen Services Inc., contracted to install fences, accepted down payments and provided consumers with an approximate date that the work would begin.

However, Thelen allegedly failed to perform the work or completed the work in a shoddy, substandard manner. Despite consumer requests, Thelen refused to refund down payments.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau has received three complaints since September 2008 about Thelen’s work from consumers in DeKalb, Boone and Ogle Counties.

Madigan’s lawsuit alleges that Thelen violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act by performing work in a shoddy, unprofessional manner; failing to complete the repair work; and refusing to provide refunds to consumers. The complaint also alleges that Thelen failed to provide homeowners with the “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” pamphlet, as required under Illinois law.

Rockford Register Star

Man dies in house fire

PEORIA – A man died Thursday morning during a house fire in Peoria.

Firefighters were called to the fire at about 6:15 a.m. and had it under control within five minutes.

By the time they forced open the deadbolted door, a man was found dead and severely burned in the front room. He was kneeling on the ground, with the upper part of his torso face-first on the couch, Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said.

Ingersoll said she was working to confirm the man’s identity. She said the lone resident of the small, single-level house was a 55-year-old man, but that identifying the man could take extra time because of his burns.

Peoria Journal Star

Man robbed of $4

SPRINGFIELD – A 26-year-old man was robbed of about $4 and his debit card on Tuesday.

The victim told officers he was near 17th and Laurel streets about 7:50 p.m. when he passed a man who asked him for change. When the victim turned around, the man repeatedly struck him in the face with a closed fist and kicked him until the victim fell to the ground.

When the victim tried to get up, someone hit him in the back of the head with an object, although the victim couldn’t identify what was used to strike him.

Two more men arrived and began hitting the victim while he was on the ground, police said. The three men then rifled the victim’s pockets and took his wallet, $4 cash and a debit card.

State Journal-Register

Sex offender ordered back to prison

SPRINGFIELD – A Sangamon County judge Wednesday ordered a convicted sex offender back to prison and sex offender treatment after ruling he had violated the terms of his recent conditional release.

Tony Harden, 38, was declared a sexually dangerous person in 1997 and ordered confined to Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina until he was deemed by a court to be no longer sexually dangerous.

He was ordered released from state Department of Corrections custody in August after both a prison psychologist and private psychiatrist testified Harden was ready for that step after 12 years of treatment and confinement.

But prosecutors last week said Harden violated the strict terms of his release by having contact with his 18-year-old stepson, who was named as a sexual abuse victim in the original indictment of Harden 12 years ago.

State Journal-Register