Cleveland Co. Sheriff: Horse Thieves Arrested After Years on the Run
NORMAN, Oklahoma - Two accused horse thieves have been locked up in Cleveland County. Sheriff Todd Gibson says their crimes span over the last decade and they have victims live all over the state.
Jeff and Naomi Pridgen are accused in Noble, Lincoln, and Pottawatomie Counties. Their reported victims say, in a combined total, they stole well over $60,000 worth of horses from them. In case after case, the couple has been cited for writing hot checks and many owners would never see their animals again.
Rodger Brooks lives in Edmond and says two years ago he sold three horses to the Pridgen’s for $4,500. He still has their signed payment plan agreement and bounced check.
“(I) gave her many chances before I went to the Lincoln County Courthouse and filed,” Brooks says. And he is not the only person to come forward.
In one case, a Pottawatomie County victim says he sold the couple four horses for about $40,000 and was never paid. Others victims say the couple uses aliases for their crimes.
Horse rescuer Kelly Bridges says, “It's Naomi Pridge, or her husband goes by Jefferson Edwards or Jeffery Edwards, then last name Pridgen or Huckins."
Bridges rescued four horses from the couple awhile back after she says the Pridgen's scammed her daughter. When she got to their land, she found one deathly skinny horse with a paralyzed face and blunt force trauma, according to a veterinarian. The animal was soon euthanized. Bridges says she’s helped dozens of victims since she got involved in the case.
The Pridgens were arrested last night at their rental home in Noble. The investigation is ongoing, and deputies continue to look for evidence but law enforcement says there are many documents and agencies to go through.
“It ranges from scams to animal cruelty," Sheriff Gibson says, "and potentially they are wanted out of other states as well."
News 9 went to the Pridgen’s home this morning and found about a dozen horses, and other animals on the property. Some were in bad shape. Others were very sick. One dog was dead in the backyard. There were also over a dozen dogs inside the home. Urine, feces, and blood was found throughout the property.
We’re told an 11-year-old girl and an elderly man were also living at the home and have been checked out by deputies and emergency services.
“Hearing what they are doing to these animals is a sin," Brooks says. “Anyone that knows anything about this lady and her husband Jeff, just come forward and let's get it all out in the open.”
Cleveland County authorities plan on extraditing the Pridgens to Pottawatomie County authorities sometime soon. Both Naomi and Jeff have arrest warrants there as well. So far, no bond information has been released on the couple.