When we last met David Ringo Avalos, a San Antonio contractor with a history of civil judgments against him for ripping people off, as well as an open warrant for assault out of El Paso, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office had finally taken an interest in the complaints of all the people who said they'd lost thousands of dollars to his con artistry. Sensing that his luck was running out, Avalos moved to Houston.
Prosecutor Joanne Woodruff -- who works in the office's elder abuse unit, and who drops awesome soundbites about protecting some of San Antonio's most vulnerable -- told us that her office would vigorously prosecute Avalos on theft charges. She also said Bexar County paid to extradite folks with open warrants. Naturally, we figured it would be a long time before we heard any complaints about Avalos. Boy, were we wrong.
In 2006, Avalos violated probation for a 2004 theft charge, and was sentenced to two years in prison. (Testifying on his own behalf when he appealed the probation revocation, the 47-year-old Avalos admitted to "threatening people," according to the Fourth Court of Appeals District of Texas.)
When he got out, he launched a new business, Total Concrete Solutions, LLC, and started using the name David Torres. On October 18, his girlfriend complained to the San Antonio Police Department that he assaulted her -- at one point, according to the complaint -- Avalos tried to gouge out the 42-year-old woman's eyes with his thumbs.
Considering the fact that Avalos still has an open warrant out of El Paso for misdemeanor assault, we thought it might be a no-brainer for police to swing by Total Concrete and ask ol' Dave a question or two. But a spokeswoman for the SAPD told us that the complaint is still under investigation.
Surprisingly, Avalos -- who is not licensed by the city -- didn't respond to our numerous voice mails. (Calls went straight to voice mail; when we reached him using an alternate number, he said we had the wrong person and then hung up.)
And he apparently still hasn't responded to numerous judgments his victim-clients have won against him, including a $347,000 judgment from 2006. (Avalos had more than $36,000 in judgments against him, according to Bexar County Court records.)
In our original 2007 story, we wrote how one ripped-off client complained to the DA's Office, "We feel we have been [victimized] twice, by Mr. Avalos and the very system we trust to enforce our laws."
It doesn't seem like much has changed. Avalos's ex-girlfriend told us that the police didn't seem too interested in her complaint. The woman's sister asked us in an e-mail, "How can they let someone out with past assault and fraud charges and that was not following probation conditions? Had the justice system worked, my sister would not have been hurt."
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Woodruff didn't return our calls, nor did her assistant, a woman who sets up the speaking engagements where Woodruff tells the citizens of San Antonio how hard local law enforcement works to protect their rights and safety.
The thing is, the last time the Bexar County DA's Office expressed an interest in Avalos, he fled to Houston, and we have enough crooks here as it is -- we don't need to import them.
Send your story tips to the author, Craig Malisow.