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Handyman untruthful about cancer diagnosis faces felony burglary charge

Michael Runnels faces additional out-of-county warrants

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SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio handyman, who said he faked a brain cancer diagnosis when he was unable to finish a home remodeling project, has been jailed on a felony burglary charge, county officials confirmed Thursday.

Michael Runnels faces a state jail felony charge of burglary of a building.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by The Defenders, Runnels admitted to being the lookout during the burglary of a woman's home in December.

When contacted by police, Runnels said he was a contractor hired to do work at the woman's home.

Detectives searching his home found coins that were reported stolen by the woman.

Investigators were also able to prove that a power washer stolen from the woman's home was later pawned by Runnels, according to the warrant.

Runnels also faces two unrelated warrants from outside Bexar County.

The charges are on top of a separate San Antonio Police Department investigation of Runnels, who is accused of accepting several thousand dollars to renovate a home in the 4500 block of Manitou Drive only to later abandon the job.

Proceeds from the sale of the home, owned by a 90-year-old woman with dementia, were going to be used to pay for an assisted living facility for her.

In an interview for a KSAT 12 Defenders investigation that aired last month, Runnels said anything that could have gone wrong with the project did.

He denied stealing items from the home and allowing workers to sleep there.

Neighbors told the homeowner's daughter Runnels was seen coming in and out of the house at all hours of the night.

The homeowner's daughter said the SAPD's investigation has been handed over to the district attorney's office.

The Defenders obtained text messages sent by Runnels claiming he had two inoperable brain tumors.

When confronted by the Defenders, Runnels said he was being untruthful.

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