The store had its good days and bad days, but it seemed like the bad days outnumbered the good. Change was coming to Main Street. The popular restaurant that was owned by the Greek family closed because of a dispute with the landlord. Streets were blocked off because of road work and construction. Foot traffic was reduced to a minimum.
Since they were at the store seven days a week, John decided that instead of going home every night, they should just sleep there. He went home every day to check on Jr and the animals, but Sarah often went weeks without riding anywhere. She did not realize the neglect that was happening at her house. Often, there was no running water in the house. The living conditions there were beyond horrible. That is likely the reason John did not want Sarah to go home.
He also did not want Sarah looking at the bank account. She asked to see it several times but he said that he was taking care of it. He stopped ordering items from the store. When customers would ask for something, he said that he would order it, but never did. A customer asked him to repair a gun that had belonged to her deceased son. He never did, but didn’t give the gun back for 18 months. Another person asked him to repair an old quilt. He also kept it for months, and only gave it back when they threatened to take him to court.
One day in the summer of 2013, he walked in the shop, saying he had $5,000 from a short term CD. Sarah was skeptical, especially since he was swinging his arms like he does when he wasn’t telling the truth. She asked to see the paperwork, and he said that it was in the truck. She asked what bank the CD was at, but he wouldn’t tell her. She knew something was up.
A few weeks later, there was a call from a nearby convenience store. The owner was going to turn John over to the police if he did not pay him $5,000. John didn’t have a CD, he cashed some of his dead mother’s social security checks at the store. He called Sarah’s mother, begging and crying. She gave him the money to keep him from going to jail.
About the same time, his truck was repossessed. He begged his friend for the money to get it back.
Within a year, John spent over $150,000 on that store. He spent his entire retirement money plus his 401k.
This was just the beginning of a horrific, downward spiral. They would never recover what was lost.