Police: Elderly Man Ripped Off by Tenant

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KINGSTON -- A tenant is accused of ripping off his 84-year-old landlord in Luzerne County.

The elderly man's neighbors on South Loveland Avenue in Kingston called him polite, generous, and a little too trusting.

"He does seem a little bit slower lately, within the last year.  Yeah, I think he would be able to be taken advantage of," said John Benning of Kingston.

According to police, the elderly man was taken advantage of by Ernest Taylor, a tenant who rented the other side of his duplex. Court records showed that, on two occasions, Taylor had been convicted of felony drug charges and served time in jail.

Police said Taylor developed a friendship with his older landlord and used it to get access to the man's home and checkbook.

"And the tenant was basically exploiting him by taking his checks.  He was pretending to pay bills.  But, really, he was taking his checks and cashing them," said Detective Ian Urbanski of the Kingston Police Department.

On Friday, police charged Taylor with forgery and identity theft, saying he forged his name on seven checks and pocketed more than $1,200.

In the Kingston neighborhood, people didn't have much to say about Ernest Taylor.

They were thinking of their 84-year-old neighbor, and they hope he's coping with what happened.

"Super nice guy. You'd go up on the porch and talk to him.  Very friendly, he'd probably give you the shirt off his back for the most part."

Kingston Police said an anonymous tip triggered their investigation  that led to Taylor's arrest.


  • Treyci

    My question is how did this guy even have the opportunity to do this? He was arrested in 2008 for several counts of felony drug charges and it was his second arrest in a year. The courts are to kind on this issue which is why the drug problem is so prevalent. Can make a fortune and if you get caught it’s a slap on the wrist. He should have been locked up a LONG time. Hopefully, being his third strike the scumbag will be gone a long time. I have personally met this man, even though he only stole 20 bucks from me he was outed from my life. Good thing, hope this puke never gets the change to hurt anyone again.

  • Jen

    I live in this neighborhood. I’m actually pretty shocked that Ernst would do this. He had always seemed to be a very kind, polite and sociable, gentleman -a good neighbor. I’m disappointed. Typically, I would make comments similar to those everyone else is leaving on this thread, but I have never before known the person in the criminal role. Reading this story has changed my perspective. It’s easy to condemn someone you don’t know as a “worthless scumbag” when you read about their arrest in the news; but when you know that person has a capacity for kindness and compassion, it changes everything. I wonder what drove him to make this choice.

    • deborahrmorgan

      Hey was playing possum and hiding who he really is…….who cares what drove him to make his choices. The fact remains that his so called friend is out 1200 bucks.

  • deborahrmorgan

    What an absolute scumbag. There are plenty of people walking around in sheeps clothing, if a landlord lists their rental w real estate firm ……they do all the background stuff. Usuallycosts 1 month of the yearly rent. Well worth it ….in hindsight.

  • MsB

    So glad justice will be served. Hope he does SOME time! Some people have no conscience. This poor man prob wouldn’t think of running background checks on tenants before for those renting to them. Not that those cannot be faked and would this man even been able to tell?

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