Monday evening update:
Conway police believe two men suspected of swindling a 91-year-old Conway resident out of $9,950 have left the area.
Detective Chris Mitchell said Monday the department was notified by Regions Bank when an elderly woman sought to cash two checks for two men for the listed amount.
According to a Conway Police Department incident report, two men approached the victim at her home and told her that she needed roof repairs.
The report stated the two men got onto the roof of her house but "did not stay long to perform a large amount of work."
"(The victim) also remembered that she thought it was odd that the men did not have any tools," the report stated.
The victim said the men demanded to be paid $10,000 in cash for the job that they completed.
According to the victim, the two men took her to Edward Jones Investments so that she could retrieve the money. The report stated that two checks were issued, one to a James Brooks, Alabama driver’s license, in the amount of $7,000, and the other to a Jeremy Croslin, Arkansas driver’s license, in the amount of $2,950.
The report stated that the men then took the victim to Regions Bank, where police were alerted.
Granger Davis, financial adviser at Edward Jones in Conway, said the victim is known to his firm and did not attend the office as the police report stated.
"The victim was driven by the men to a local bank branch, not an Edward Jones office," Davis said. "Edward Jones did not give the victim two checks. According to the police report, Edward Jones gave the victim two checks, and this is not accurate. We wish that (the victim) had come by this office. We would have put a stop to any fraud."
Davis added Edward Jones does not issue checks or keep cash at its office.
Mitchell said that the victim cashed two checks at the bank despite officers’ warnings. After the cash was given to the men, they were identified by police and one was arrested after it was found that he had an outstanding warrant out of another department.
According to Mitchell, the subject immediately posted his bond, and was "gone after that."
Mitchell said he believes it to be unlikely that the men will come back to complete the job promised to the victim.
"I suspect that they have left the state," Mitchell said. "We’ve identified the men but can’t make an arrest because this is still a civil agreement. We have to wait and make sure they don’t come back and make an attempt to do some work."
Mitchell said the incident will be turned over to 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland in a few weeks if the men do not attempt to contact the victim to do roofing work.
"We need a few more weeks to know if there will be a felony warrant pursued," he said.
According to Mitchell, incidents like the one in the report "happen a lot," especially in odd construction jobs and roofing.
"We call them traveling gypsies," Mitchell said. "These types travel around and look for 50- to 60-year-old houses. They know an elderly person probably lives there."
Mitchell recommended citizens check the legitimacy of a company or individual before entering a civil agreement with workers.
"The best way to avoid this is to make sure someone has a contractor’s license," he said. "That means that in some state, they’ve taken a test and gotten a license. You also want to make sure that they have a permit license in the city that they are in."
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)