'Gypsy Scammers' Out This Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 14th 2011, 6:28 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

(KONOWA, Oklahoma) -- A local sheriff's department issues a warning to watch out for what investigators are calling a group of "gypsy scammers."

The Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Office says they're ripping people off and now investigators want you to know what to watch out for.

"Gypsy pavers," is what Captain Travis Palmer with the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's office calls them.

Pottawatomie County deputies caught the so-called "contractors" at Sacred Heart Church near Konawa.

Here's what they do: They say they just finished up a job nearby and have extra material then offer to pave your driveway for cheap. The end result isn't what you paid for.

"You sink into it, not only is the church out the money but will cost more money to come out and fix this," Capt. Palmer said. "They don't care who they take advantage of."

He said, "They'll come in, quote you a price, and convince you you misunderstood them, and it was so much per foot," Capt. Palmer added.

"They come in with dump trucks and spurters. They convince you they're putting in an asphalt driveway."

The sheriff's department gave News 9 the photo they took of the men before they ran them out of the county.

"Their trucks had Nebraska tags, Texas or Missouri drivers licenses," he said.

Their names are Charles Holmes, Earl Holmes, Randy Bodiford and Bobby Turner, but the Sheriff's office says those are not the names they'll give you.

He said Bodiford is wanted in Georgia and California, but says those states would not extradite him.

They say the men specialize in paving but it's only part of a scam. They may even offer to do side-jobs or roof repairs.

Capt. Palmer says the men are on the move in Oklahoma and were just spotted in Seminole County.

"Their targets are elderly people, they don't care who they take advantage of. We just want to get the warning out," he said.

Capt. Palmer says the men weren't arrested because when deputies approached them, the men said they were donating the work on the driveway.

Bottom-line, call the Better Business Bureau. Check your contractors out before agreeing to any deal that sounds too good to be true, and call your local sheriff's office if you see the men or think you've fallen victim to these scammers.

Palmer says scammers are busy this time of year and that these people are doing this instead of breaking into homes.

Here's the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Facebook page Sheriff's page with the original warning: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pottawatomie-County-Sheriffs-Office/107057519370364