Single mother’s future in jeopardy after thief steals driveway

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — UPDATE: After hearing about this situation, a Cox Media Group radio sponsor has offered to install a new driveway at no cost to the homeowner. The homeowner plans to donate the GoFundMe money to a local nonprofit in coordination with 9 Family Connection.

Walking unsteadily off the front porch of 1438 Bethesda Street, Amanda Brochu navigated the bumps and valleys where her walkway should have been.


Slowly, she headed for the street where her son played with his friends. She passed the white for sale sign sticking up out of her front yard, normally a beckoning beacon to house hunters. Now, it serves as a painful reminder that her time is running out.

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In a season where most people fret about porch pirates, Brochu encountered something far worse: someone ran away with her concrete driveway.

“I come home and my driveway is gone,” Brochu said, with a laugh of disbelief.

Brochu said the trouble began when she listed her house for sale in early December.

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The work up to this point had been on schedule. She replaced the roof and made minor touch-ups. The listing agent priced it to sell and bragged about the lack of a HOA and fenced-in backyard.

Then, her son told her people had come by the house to measure the driveway, counting five different contractors in the span of a few days.

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She confronted one of them, who said a man by the name of “Andre” reached out to him to ask about a driveway replacement quote. The contractor said Andre claimed to be the landlord and gave Brochu Andre’s phone number.

Text messages supplied by the contractor show Andre received a quote for $7,200 to replace the driveway and agreed to the price. However, Andre said he couldn’t meet the contractor to drop off the deposit.

When the now-wary contractor demanded full payment and proof of ownership before starting the job, Andre cut off communication.

Brochu called Orange County Deputies, who in turn called Andre.

“They said that he said it was a mistake,” she recalled. “He just got the address wrong, nothing else will happen again.”

The next week, her driveway disappeared.

“I was in unbelievable, like, utter shock,” Real Estate Agent Rocki Sanchez, who Brochu hired to sell the home, said. “I’ve never seen this before. I’ve never had this happen to myself or anyone in our office.”

Sanchez posted about the incident to a national Facebook group for realtors. Others began commenting that they’ve seen similar situations for unwanted exterior work, including paint and driveways.

Many scams involved the contractors themselves, though one incident in Washington involved a door-to-door scammer hiring companies to do legitimate paving work, while pocketing the money for himself.

The closest local scheme WFTV could find to Brochu’s incident happened in 2012, when a man stole bricks from someone’s driveway.

Deputies met Brochu at her home Tuesday to follow-up and launched a criminal mischief investigation, according to a document she showed WFTV.

She said they called Andre again, who claimed he had nothing to do with the disappearing driveway before hanging up the phone.

“I just want to find the person who did this because it’s wrong that they targeted me and my family for this,” she explained.

However, the investigation won’t solve all her problems. Brochu is under contract to purchase a nearby property and needed the money from selling her current home to make the down payment.

A company she called quoted her $10,000 to replace the concrete. Money she didn’t budget – and doesn’t have.

Sanchez helped Brochu set up a GoFundMe as a Hail Mary attempt to get her life plans back on track, finish the replacement and get the home sold in time.

“No one’s going to buy this,” Brochu said. “This brings down the property now. And that just messes it up for me and my family.”

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