A man conned at least four unsuspecting victims in Arlington into renting homes he did not own and pocketed the money, police say.
Clinton Argilagos, 33, was arrested on felony theft charges and held in the Tarrant County Jail on $8,500 bond.
Detectives said he found vacant houses that were for sale and simply replaced the "for sale" signs out front with his own "for rent" sign.
Unsuspecting victims would call him and he would collect the first month's rent and a security deposit before they figured out there was a problem, police said.
In one case, that didn't happen until two victims started to move in to the same house at the same time.
Arlington police Det. Paul Belauskas, who investigated the case, said he gives Argilagos an "A-plus" for creativity, but added a crime is a crime.
"The guy's moral compass was definitely pointing in the wrong direction," Belauskas said. "He was preying on people who needed a place to stay. And the victims deserve a little justice on this."
One red flag, according to police, was that Argilagos didn't want to meet at the "rental house" and arranged to meet his victims at fast food restaurants or other locations to collect their money.
Belauskas said he cracked the case with the help of a victim who became suspicious and got the suspect's license plate number.