Arrest warrant filed on contractor after wrong Iowa tornado damage repairs made

Cass County authorities looking for Midwest Restoration contractor
Midwest Restorations has an "F" rating from the BBB. The contractor is now wanted in Cass County.
Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:42 PM CST
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CASS COUNTY, Nebraska (WOWT) - Tornadoes this time of year aren’t just in the south. A year ago, a twister hit at Beaver Lake, leaving several homes in need of repair.

One homeowner took a chance on a stranger when hiring a contractor, who now has a warrant out for his arrest.

Craig Molek remembers the sounds and sights of last December’s tornado — one of many that hit Iowa that day — as he watched it come toward his house.

“All of a sudden it was really dark and loud and picked up the table and knocked all the soffit up in from the house,” he said.

The home stood strong, but its siding had heavy damage.

Molek said that just a day after the tornado passed through, he was clearing debris off his property, and a salesman came up and handed him a card for Midwest Restorations and wanted to give him a bid for repairs on the house.

The Moleks put down $5,000 and waited several months.

“Then one day, he showed up with a dumpster and siding, and it was completely the wrong stuff — it wasn’t even the stuff that was supposed to go on my house,” Craig Molek said.

A text from Mark Schneidwind claims the customers did not like the color, but that he agreed to refund them $3,500 in June. The Moleks say they’re still waiting for that refund.

“It’s frustrating that this guy came and took my money, and I’ve got nothing to show for it,” Molek said.

6 News showed them an arrest warrant for Schneidwind alleging felony theft by deception. Cass County Attorney Chris Perrone said that Schneidwind and Midwest Restorations are not going to come to Cass County and make promises, take money, and then refuse to perform work without facing consequences.

The Moleks are helping in the investigation by providing paperwork and texts from the contractor to a deputy.

“You can’t mess with everybody because some people are passive and some people don’t want to tolerate that and take it personal,” Pam Molek said.

The Better Business Bureau said the criminal charge against a co-owner of Midwest Restorations helps justify the company’s “F” rating.

“And that rating is due to volume of complaints we’ve received over the last three years as well as an unresolved and an ignored complaint,” said Jim Hegarty with the Better Business bureau.

Asked for comment about the theft-by-deception charge against him, Schneidwind 6 News a photo of a check, claiming he already had refunded the customers’ money in September. But he didn’t send a picture of the back of the check, which would show the check had been endorsed and cashed by Craig Molek, who says he never received it.

“Just shows he intended to keep my money without doing anything for me,” Molek said.

Recovering from the tornado last December, the Moleks said they need the refund to help weather the storm because insurance won’t pay a second time for siding replacement.

“So I had to cover the extra $5,000 out of my pocket,” Molek said.

Schneidwind sent a text that his attorney would be contacting 6 News for comment, but so far that hasn’t happened. The Cass County Attorney said he intends to crack down on shady contractors who take advantage of people in a time of need like after a storm.