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Man forces woman to pay after doing unsolicited yardwork


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man who police say has a history of doing yard work for people without being asked and then pressuring them into paying him was arrested over the weekend after investigators say he did it again.

The incident began on Sept. 13 when Ani Palau, 42, did unwanted yard work for a 75-year-old woman near 1000 North and 900 West, according to Salt Lake police.

"The owner explained that (she) did not want him to do yard work and could not pay," a Salt Lake County Jail report states. He allegedly ignored the woman, continued to do yard work, and then told her to go inside so he could write down his information.

Once in the house, "he began to demand that a check be written to pay him," the report states. "The victim stated that she was afraid of Ani and thought that she had better write the check so he doesn't injure her."

The owner explained that (she) did not want him to do yard work and could not pay.

–Salt Lake County Jail report

After he left, the woman called police and canceled the check, the report states.

He returned to the woman's house on Friday and knocked on her window. The woman did not answer, but instead called police.

Palau told officers that he raises his voice when people don't pay him and it may frighten people, according to the report. He was booked for investigation of elderly exploitation.

Salt Lake police say Palau has had similar incidents with other residents on at least eight other occasions.

Palau was charged in 3rd District Court earlier this year with theft by receiving stolen property, a second-degree felony, and drug possession, a third-degree felony. A trial is scheduled in November, according to court records.

He was convicted of misdemeanor identity fraud in 2013, according to court records. Palau was found guilty of theft by deception and possessing another person's identification in 2009. He also pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing in another case in 2009. Palau was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse in 2004.

Pat Reavy


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