Jason Meinke was employed by a Sears contractor and sent into homes to clean ducts despite his criminal history that included misdemeanor and felony convictions, including a felony aggravated stalking conviction. When he was sent to clean Carrie Smith’s air ducts, she says her nightmare started, as reported by Scott Lewis of Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ (video below):
Smith went into the basement with Meinke’s partner to check out the air ducts. When she came upstairs, she saw Meinke coming out of her bedroom, and it gave her the creeps.
The next day Smith says, “I started receiving vulgar sexual text messages.”
Several vulgar texts including one that talked about having someone urinate in their mouth. Smith called police, and they traced the messages to Meinke’s cell phone. He told the cops his phone had been stolen and he later got it back. Police didn’t buy it and they discovered something else disturbing when they went to Carrie Smith’s house. Someone had unlocked a window behind the bushes and left it cracked open.
“It petrified me,” said Smith. “I thought he was going to come into my home and do something.”
As it turns out, the Sears contract did conduct a background check on Meinke. It showed no records for him, despite the fact that he had recently been released from prison.
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Scott Lewis about the dangers of cheap background checks. In the two-part news story below, Scott explores Meinke’s history and questions how Sears, through a contractor, could send him into customers’ homes. I’m quoted near the end of both stories. The second video tells the sad story of Sue Weaver, who was murdered by an in-home service provider. Her sister, Lucia Bone, started a nonprofit, the Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E., to bring attention to the issue of improperly screened serviceworkers being sent into homes.
Part one (aired 11/06/2011):
Part two (aired 11/07/2011):