After Terminix fired him, Hector Garcia Orozco posed as an exterminator and relieved customers of a lot more than bugs.
Orozco, 44, of Fort Worth, conned his victims into believing he still worked for Terminix. He used the company’s uniform and a customer list to finagle his way into the homes of elderly or ill people and stole from them, a Tarrant County prosecutor said.
In January, Orozco pleaded guilty to theft of property up to $200,000. On Monday, state District Judge Elizabeth Beach sentenced him to 20 years in prison, the maximum allowed.
Investigators estimated that Orozco stole more than $200,000, but prosecutors could charge him only for items that he was caught with, prosecutor Lori Burks said. And they don’t know how many people he stole from.
Orozco frequently traded stolen items for cash at pawnshops, Burks said.
“He targeted and stalked people,” Burks said. “After he got into their homes, he took their heirlooms. And when he took the stand, he minimized and lied about what he did. He was sorry only that he got caught.”
Burks said that while he was still employed, Orozco made notes of customers with infirmities, such as failing memories. More than 1,000 names were on the customer list he was caught with, Burks said.
According to his indictment, Orozco took two Rolex watches, two platinum rings, a Montblanc writing pen, money, more than 140 pieces of flatware and jewelry from three families.
Orozco was fired in August 2013.
“The alleged actions of this former employee are inexcusable and are in no way a reflection of the values and standards of our company,” a Terminix spokesman said in an email. “We have cooperated fully with local authorities as they’ve conducted their investigation, and we will continue to support their efforts.”
Kay Wilson, who testified during the sentencing hearing, told Beach that the silver Orozco took from her was purchased piece by piece by members of the community where she grew up and that it was her most cherished possession, according to an emailed statement from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
“It made me sick,” Wilson’s statement said. “It absolutely broke my heart and it still makes me teary to think about it. We felt so vulnerable. It was a very disturbing thing to have happen.”
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752