Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — As holiday spending kicks off, Lorene Trexler is glad to have finally stopped spending.
The 86-year-old Salisbury woman said she’s just now starting to feel relief after losing nearly $20,000 in a home improvement scam in August that started with a leaky kitchen faucet.
Trexler said she’s seen a community outpouring since the Post reported on her concerns on Sept. 28.
Trexler alleged at the time that John David Hodges had scammed her and others out of thousands of dollars.
Hodges was arrested by Rowan County investigators on Oct. 20 and charged with seven counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense.
Tile now covers Trexler’s shower walls and floor, and a new toilet has been recently installed in the bathroom that was torn apart by Hodges’ crew in August after she said he promised to put in a new handicap-accessible shower.
“This is just too good to be true,” she said Friday.
Trexler said she “relaxed” on Thanksgiving this year, after several months of wondering how she was going to make it financially.
She said she’s grateful for the people who have cleaned up the mess in her house that forced her to use water from her sink to bathe.
Trexler said she received meals about once a week from an assisted living center near Enon Church Road and has also seen donations, some anonymous, from community members and businesses.
Dale Elliott did plumbing work for free, she said, and he installed a new toilet donated from Ruehlen Supply Co., 2211 South Main St.
“The way that people have turned out to give me a helping hand, it gives you hope in humanity again,” she said.
Contractor John Foster has worked on Trexler’s house from the beginning and said everything that Hodges’ crews constructed in the bathroom had to be torn out and redone.
“It was a mess,” Foster said. “It was terrible — all the stuff she had to go through.”
Wiring in the attic had been installed incorrectly, too, Trexler said.
She said a Rowan County inspector warned that it could have started a fire.
But as Trexler’s troubles wind down, Hodges’ continue.
The 41-year-old has been charged with two more felony obtaining property by false pretense charges in Davie County, according to court documents.
In addition to the initial Davie charge, he faces 10 felonies across the state.
Hodges, who is not a licensed plumber, also faces civil suits in Rowan and Brunswick counties.
He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to be in court Wednesday.
Hodges may have taken as much as $150,000 from Rowan residents.