Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Detectives are looking for 40-year-old Gilbert Lee Martinez who has been allegedly been ripping off customers while posing as a licensed landscaper. Cases have been reported in the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys as well as in Los Alamos. According to the Sheriff’s Department, Martinez is suspected of contacting potential tree trimming clients, quoting a price, and then taking money up front without ever returning to complete the agreed-upon work. Over the last few weeks, the Department has received numerous complaints from victims – many of whom are elderly – some of whom reportedly paid Martinez up to $2,000 for landscaping contracts that were never honored.
Martinez is said to be driving a 2004 Ford Truck with license plate 5MFC401 that usually displays magnetic signs saying “Jan’s Gardening” and, according to detectives, his contract paperwork reads “Tropical Treasures.” Martinez, who does not have a contractor’s license, has two outstanding warrants for his arrest including a felony warrant for probation violation.
Sheriff’s Detectives encourage anyone with information regarding the case to contact them directly at 805-681-4100 or to call the Department’s anonymous tip line at 805-681-4171.