CANYON LAKE, Texas – A convicted thief who was in prison as recently as 2018 is accused of accepting nearly $14,000 for Canyon Lake fencing work and then not completing the project.
Alleged victims of Taylor McKemberly, 56, told KSAT they had some difficulty in recent months identifying him because he has been using the alias “R.J.”
Tish Pulsipher in April hired McKemberly, who was going by the name “R.J.,” to build a large privacy fence around two lots she had just purchased southwest of Canyon Lake.
“Land to run around and play, but also security. You know, it’s a rural neighborhood and there’s aggressive dogs running down the street sometimes,” said Pulsipher, when asked about the need for a fence around her newly purchased property.
Pulsipher, who said her first mistake was using Craigslist to find a fencing contractor, added that McKemberly was quick to call her back and seemed eager to begin the work.
McKemberly originally quoted Pulsipher a price of $14,741 to install hundreds of feet of fencing and multiple gates, before agreeing to knock $1,000 off the price if she paid for the project up front, contract records obtained by KSAT show.
McKemberly, according to Pulsipher, told her the upfront payment of $13,741 would allow him to get discounts on materials for the job.
Pulsipher’s repeated attempts to pay McKemberly through Cash App were rejected and labeled as suspicious, which she said looking back on it should have stood out as a red flag.
Pulsipher was eventually able to make a small digital payment to McKemberly’s wife and wrote a check for the remainder of the work, records show.
McKemberly asked her to make out the check to another man, who eventually cashed it at a credit union in Houston, Pulsipher said.
Despite accepting full payment, however, McKemberly did not return to the property to begin the job.
In mid-July, after Pulsipher threatened to report McKemberly to the Comal County Sheriff’s Office, he finally sent a crew to begin the work.
The workers, who told Pulsipher they were still owed money from McKemberly for an unrelated job, installed a partial row of posts but then walked off after learning that Pulsipher had paid for her project up front.
She pointed to a stack of unused fence posts and waterlogged bags of concrete as proof of the lack of progress on the project, which was paid for well over eight months ago.
Pulsipher said a search of McKemberly’s Cash App handle led her to a Facebook page called “Scammers of San Antonio.”
The page is dedicated to exposing McKemberly and includes multiple posts from alleged victims detailing how he was able to get money from them as well as several of his previous jail booking photos.
“My blood chilled,” said Pulsipher, who reported McKemberly to Comal County Sheriff’s investigators on Dec. 9.
Stealing from the elderly and a West Side church
McKemberly was charged in 10 theft cases in San Antonio between 2007 and 2015, Bexar County court records show.
He was convicted in three of those cases, all felonies, and secured dismissals in the other seven, records show.
McKemberly’s convictions include two charges of theft from the elderly under $20,000.
After being indicted in a separate theft case in 2016, he pleaded no contest to stealing from a non-profit, a West Side Church.
McKemberly was imprisoned between late October 2016 and late June 2018, serving less than half of the five-year sentence he was given, records show.
Car lot mess
McKemberly’s listed business address leads to a vacant car lot on Austin Highway.
The lot’s owner told KSAT McKemberly approached him about setting up his business operations there in exchange for cleaning up the property.
McKemberly cleaned up the property initially but then shortly after that turned it into a “junkyard,” the owner said.
The owner said it cost $8,000 to clean up the mess McKemberly left behind, including the removal of large piles of gravel.
The lot owner said he repeatedly gets calls from former customers of McKemberly asking where he can be found.
A theft complaint filed with San Antonio police in late September accuses McKemberly of accepting money to extend a shed and then never showing up to start the job.
McKemberly told the woman who filed the complaint with police that his carpenter could not be located, SAPD records show.
He did not respond to a KSAT email seeking a comment or messages left at his last two known addresses.
KSAT could find no record that McKemberly has been charged with a crime since his 2018 release from prison.