Sheriff warns of scam artists

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Mower County Sheriff Barry J.

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Mower County Sheriff Barry J. Simonson issued a warning today to be alert for possible asphalt paving scam artists.

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The sheriff has received two reports from citizens claiming to have been the victims of unscrupulous business practices.

In one incident, a pickup truck followed an elderly woman to her home and told her they had just finished a driveway patching job and had materials left over. The man agreed to patch the woman’s driveway for a greatly reduced sum of money.

The woman agreed and when the crew finished, they demanded $2,400 or more than the original $210 price quoted for the work.

The woman said she did not have the money and the pair negotiated until the paver agreed to charge only $500. She wrote out a check for the amount and the man left.

When she reported the incident to local authorities, she was advised to stop payment on the check for an investigation.

Today, a second report of a possible incident of fraud was received by the Mower County Sheriff’s Office, but the details were not yet available at this morning.

Anyone knowing of other possible attempts at theft by fraud is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department at 437-9400 immediately.

Lyle laundry fire

LYLE – The Lyle Volunteer Fire Department extinguished a blaze at the Lamont E. Copple home in Lyle.

The alarm was reported 6:46 p.m. Sunday.

Copple told investigators he returned home and finished doing his laundry.

Investigators theorized the fire may have started from freshly laundered clothes folded and laid atop an ashtray with a burning cigarette.

An estimated $35,000 in damages were reported.

Couple loses hay bales

DEXTER – Pam Morrow was burning on her farm between Dexter and Grand Meadow Friday afternoon.

Sparks from the open burning fire must have traveled to a nearby barn and ignited hay stored in the building at the Tim and Pam Morrow farm.

Both the Dexter and Grand Meadow volunteer fire departments were needed to bring the blaze under control.

Between 700 and 800 bales of hay were lost in the blaze, which occurred at 4:26 p.m. Friday.

Turns signaled arrest

An Austin man was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute.

Andrew W. Pike, 22, led an Austin Police Department officer with a serious of unusual actions in his 1984 Chevrolet Camaro.

Twice he signed in the opposite direction of turns he made in the car, according to police.

When the officer stopped the car, Pike was taken into custody, but a male passenger ran from the scene and was not apprehended, police said.

Pike had three bags of a substance that tested positive for marijuana and was jailed on possession with the intent to distribute charges, according to police.

Officers also executed another warrant for his arrest and held him in the Mower County Jail.

Man arrested

Reports of loud music sent officers to 205 12th St. SE early Sunday and resulted in a drug arrest.

When Austin Police Department officers investigated the report, they heard the loud music over a block away from the residence.

When the officers went to the residence, the occupants failed to hear knocks on the front door.

One officer observed through an open window a man place a metal pipe to his mouth and take something from a plastic bag on the table in front of him and tap it into the pipe’s bowl, police said.

The front door was unlocked and officers entered and surprised the four people seated at the table with bags of a substance in view, according to police.

Three of the subjects denied ownership of the substances, which were piled in front of where Philip Lea Gardner was seated, police said.

Gardner was taken into custody and jailed for a District Court appearance on charges of felony possession of a controlled substance.

Bicyclist unhurt

Austin police investigated a car-bike accident Friday.

The mishap occurred along a city street in front of entrances to Western Manor and Bremerton apartment complexes.

According to an Austin Police Department report, a boy on a bicycle was observed exiting the Bremerton driveway at a high rate of speed by a northbound motorist, who attempted to swerve and stop to avoid hitting him.

John Baldus was identified as the driver of the car. Baldus stopped at the scene of the mishap.

A Gold Cross Ambulance Service crew took the boy to Austin Medical Center emergency room.

He was identified as Quinton James Payne, 9, of Austin, who lives with his mother and siblings at the Bremerton complex.

The boy was treated and released and no charges filed in the 5:24 p.m. Friday mishap.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at