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Police: Serial church repair con man accused of Stamford swindle

December 5, 2018

STAMFORD — A Bristol man, who one Massachusetts attorney turned pastor called the best con man he’d ever met, has been accused of taking $7,500 for repairs he never did on a downtown church.

Marcus McClennan, 45, was charged this week with third-degree larceny and was held in lieu of a $100,000 court appearance bond.

McClennan is accused of depositing a check from St. John’s Episcopal Church for roof repairs, but never showed up for the job.

Financial Crimes Sgt. Sean Boeger determined the church obtained a $30,000 estimate from McClennan, who represented himself as Trumbull Architectural Restoration, and wrote him a deposit check for $7,523.75 in July 2017.

After cashing the check, police said McClennan made several excuses for not doing the repairs, including saying his father was sick and he was going through a divorce.

The parish’s rector, Rev. James Wheeler, sent McClennan a letter at the end of 2017, saying the church was canceling its contract due to lack of performance and asked for the deposit to be returned.

As news surfaced about the alleged theft, police became aware of two other Connecticut churches with similar complaints against McClennan.

Rev. Christopher Files, of Trinity Lutheran Church, said McClennan deposited a $5,250 check in July 2017 for $10,500 worth of work to the roof and interior of his Milford church, Boeger said. Boeger said McClennan gave similar excuses to Files for not doing the job.

Boeger said retired attorney Donald Peters, who is the spiritual leader of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Parish in Chicopee, Mass., wrote a $10,500 check to McClennan for $20,000 worth of work to refurbish the interior of the church’s roof.

Peters said the renovations were for the church’s 100th anniversary in May, but were never done. Peters said McClennan did not return the deposit.

“He is one of the best con men I have ever come across,” Peters told the Stamford Advocate.

In the affidavit, Boeger said he was unable to reach McClennan.

According to the Secretary of State, the business was registered as a limited liability company in 2012.

“The affiant believes that suspect Marcus McClellan has shown a pattern of acts in which he accepts deposits for repair work from churches and never completes any of the agreed upon work while failing to return the deposits to the churches,” the affidavit said.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

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