A notoriously mobile landscaper/contractor named to the Contractors State License Board’s “Most Wanted” list in the wake of crimes committed here in Lamorinda and elsewhere in Contra Costa has been arrested – in Oregon.
Those who have fallen victim to the man doing business as Adan Contreras-Rivas – and a host of other names – expressed their satisfaction as news of his capture spread Wednesday.
“Wanted to let you know they finally got that landscaper!” wrote San Jose resident Linda York, who ran into Contreras and his extended family when the contractor allegedly relieved a neighbor of a large sum of money and threatened him when he wouldn’t pay. “He was arrested in Medford Oregon. I don’t know all the details but I’m hoping that he gets extradited to the Bay Area so he can face charges…”
Rivas was arrested on April 19, 2017 in Medford, Oregon, on felony charges of aggravated first-degree theft, first-degree theft, and on his California arrest warrant. It’s expected that Rivas will be extradited to California in the near future to face charges locally.
Contreras-Rivas is currently being held in Jackson County Jail in Medford on $250,000 bail.
We first wrote about Contreras in February of last year. For some up-front money he’d tend your yard, trim trees or fix a drainage issue. As it turned out for several people, Contreras is best at taking the money and not so good at fixing things.
Investigators said Rivas has been operating a number of businesses, including: Parras Landscaping and Pavers, View Tree Service, High Tech Tree Care, New View Tree Care, New View Tree Service, One Way Tree Service, View Maintenance & Landscaping, View Landscaping & Tree Service, High Tech Tree Care.
They said Rivas has victimized more than two dozen Bay Area families by soliciting landscaping and tree removal services. Rivas usually focuses his attention on more affluent neighborhoods, often targeting the elderly. It’s alleged that after reaching an agreement with a homeowner, Rivas takes an excessive down payment and then abandons the job.
Rivas was last believed to be living in Concord, though family members have been traced to San Jose. In Lamorinda and Walnut Creek he left at least 11 customers holding the clippings bag to the tune of about $64,000 and appeared to be back in business in San Jose before York and others called the law down on him.
A no bail arrest warrant was issued for the 34-year-old in 2015 on 10 felony counts of fraud, and there’s a slew of misdemeanor charges pending against him as well. An attempt to capture him at work in Livermore failed recently when Rivas apparently realized investigators were closing in, calmly walking into the backyard of the home he was working on and jumping adjacent fences until he got away.
Rivas, who most victims agree has something of a beguiling manner and a certain patter, operated in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, San Ramon and Alamo-Danville. Investigators accuse him of diverting construction funds, taking excessive down payments, and contracting without a license.
“Luckily I didn’t give him very much money but the more I got into this the more I realized how much he has taken from others,” York said Thursday. “He really needs to be caught.”
And so it appears to be.