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Deputies: ‘Don’t be suckered’ by lottery check scam

Once again, fake lottery letters with cashier’s checks have arrived in Shawnee mailboxes, prompting law enforcement officers to issue warnings to area residents. The most recent mailing comes from an address in London, England, with a claim that the person is the winner of the Australia Sweepstakes lottery. The Shawnee resident who received this mailing, along with what appears to be a real cashier’s check, became suspicious and turned over the items to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Mike Booth said the letter and $4,995 check, are a scam and residents need to be aware of such cons to avoid becoming victims.
“If it looks too good to be true, it is,” Booth said. It’s a scam, no matter how good it looks.” The letterhead shows Featureview Trust Inc., and includes the Shawnee man’s name and his address where it was mailed, and claims to be from the International Claims Department in London, England. The letter claims the resident has won $250,000 through a random computer ballot system drawn from shopper names.
The letter shows the check for $4,995 is to help pay government taxes and insurance on the winnings and claims to be a payment from a claims agent.

It asks the winner not to use the check until they call a 15-digit phone number, where police said those answering work to get personal information from the caller. The fake check, with the somewhat blurry logo of well-known U.S. bank, claims to be drafted from an account in Phoenix, Ariz. “No matter how real it looks, it’s not going to get you anything,” Booth said about that check, advising residents not to cash it or give any personal information to anyone. “From that point on, you have everything to lose,” the sheriff added. Booth said residents should be suspicious if they get anything by mail such as this, especially if they have no direct knowledge of it. “Anyone with questions can bring it to their local law enforcement office,” Booth said, adding, “Don’t be suckered.”

Shawnee police issued a similar warning back in December for mailings that included similar letters for a shoppers lottery scam.
“Don’t cash the check … do not call and give them any information,” Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz said. Frantz said the scam works to get someone’s bank account number, either by phone or when cashing the fake check. That enables the suspects to clean out someone’s bank account before they realize the check to pay the “fees” is a fake and has bounced. “Citizens beware,” Frantz said.

Deputy injured in crash while responding to fatal pedestrian accident

A Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputy was injured in a crash Monday afternoon while he was responding to the scene of a pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of that victim. The first accident involving the pedestrian was reported about 11:52 a.m. in the 8400 block of Brangus Road. About five minutes later, the accident involving the sheriff’s deputy was reported at Garrett’s Lake Road and Kickapoo Street.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe sheriff’s unit when that accident occurred. Palmer, who was eastbound on Garrett’s Lake Road, was en route to the Brangus Road accident to assist another deputy, said Shawnee Police Lt. Tom Pringle.
At the intersection, his unit collided with a Ford Mustang driven southbound on Kickapoo Street by a 17-year-old driver, Pringle said. Her name was not being released.

Palmer, who was trapped in the wreckage, was extricated by Shawnee firefighters and taken by REACT EMS ambulance to Unity Health Center, North Campus. There, he was treated for facial lacerations and a vertebrae injury, Pringle said, then was transferred by helicopter ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital for further treatment.

Pringle said the teen’s parents took her by private vehicle to Midwest City Regional Hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
Shawnee Patrol Officer Jay Keehn worked the scene and police are investigating, Pringle said, with Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers assisting with measurements and diagrams of the collision.

At Unity’s ER, fellow deputies and police officers from various agencies arrived to check on Palmer, said Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth.

Booth, also at the hospital, said Palmer was traveling “Code 3,” at the time of the accident, which meant he had activated lights and sirens in response to the emergency call.
“He was on the way to help someone,” the sheriff said. “Sometimes these things happen — we know that when we’re putting on the badge.”
Booth said Palmer was awake at the hospital and was concerned for others as he asked Booth about the other driver, as well as the pedestrian he was trying to go help.

Other deputies and state troopers worked the pedestrian accident on Brangus Road, where a man who was getting out of his vehicle was hit by that vehicle and reportedly died from his injuries, according to scanner reports.

That accident was determined to be on trust land, so Sac and Fox Nation Police were investigating that accident. No other information or the identity of the person involved in the fatal accident could be obtained from Sac and Fox tribal police as phone messages were not returned.

2009 Shop with a Cop!

It doesn’t take 9-year-old Preston Gunter long to shop. Just a few minutes after he headed into the wilds of Wal-Mart during Sunday’s Shop with a Cop, he was standing in the checkout line with Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Troy Thompson, his shopping buddy. In his cart: an Indiana Jones video game, a Bakugan game and a large bag of Butterfingers. There was one problem. He hadn’t spent enough — there was money remaining on his gift card. So, off he went again with Trooper Thompson, quickly returning with a case for the Bakugan game. “He knew what he wanted and he knew right where to go,” Thompson said. “There were only three of the games, so he was glad he got to be one of the first to go.”
For his part, Preston didn’t say much, but his frequent smiles spoke volumes. He was one of 97 children taking part in Leadership Shawnee’s Shop with a Cop. The Shawnee Chamber of Commerce annually sponsors Leadership Shawnee and requires each class to have a project. This year’s class decided to organize Shop with a Cop and raised $7,500 to buy $75 gift cards for 92 children and presents for five of their siblings who were younger than 18 months. The 92 older children were paired up with a local enforcement officer as a shopping partner. For about two hours, the area just south of Wal-Mart’s book section was packed with children, their parents, cops and Leadership Shawnee class members. Everyone involved genuinely seemed to enjoy the experience. “All the policemen are smiling and all the kids are smiling,” said Felicia Freeman, one of the Leadership Shawnee class members. “It feels good just knowing that we helped make the kids have a good Christmas.” A total of 39 officers from the Shawnee, McLoud and Tecumseh police departments, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Absentee Shawnee Nation volunteered to help the youngsters shop. Dan Shumaker of the Shawnee Police Department said he was glad he had the opportunity to participate. His first shopping partner was a girl who bought clothes. “Her father thanked me over and over and over,” Shumaker said. “With the economy being the way it is, this is perfect timing. You could see in her face that it made a difference.” Wal-Mart supplied cookies and Hawaiian Punch for the shoppers, their parents and the cops. Brenda Burkey, a department manager, came in on her day off to run a register at a line dedicated for Shop with a Cop sales only. “I’m a sucker for the kids,” she said. “You could see their eyes light up. It was just magic.”
For some shoppers, particularly the older ones, it went fast indeed. Some of the younger ones took a more leisurely pace, savoring the moment and the company of the cop. And the program had an unintended benefit for one person not involved in Shop with a Cop. A lady went to the check-in table to sternly ask how long the policemen would be tied up at the store. When told about another hour and a half, she brightened.
“That’s great — I’m going to speed on my way home.” Despite the potential for abetting in the violation of speed laws, members have discussed continuing Shop with a Cop next year and making it annual event.

New developments in Saint Louis shooting

An investigation into a fatal shooting in Saint Louis Saturday evening is continuing as detectives conduct interviews and await firearm testing to prepare the case for review by the district attorney, who may have to determine if the case falls under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Timmy Jordan, 46, died as a result of the shooting. Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Investigator Mike Carnell said the shooting occurred in the Saint Louis area at 32290 Brangus Road, which is the residence of Ricky Wallgren Jr.
The investigation is still ongoing. Preliminary reports from the probe now indicate Wallgren was out in his yard when he saw a 4-wheeler occupied by Jordan and his 11-year-old son pull up to the gate of his residence, which had a large stop sign and a “no trespassing” sign, Carnell said.
Jordan and his son allegedly climbed the gate onto Wallgren’s property and walked about 155 feet up the driveway, Carnell said, with Jordan carrying a bag with a visible green leafy plant believed to be marijuana.
When Jordan confronted Wallgren, Carnell said Wallgren told Jordan to leave the property. Wallgren’s children were at home, but were told to go inside the house, he said.
During the confrontation, Carnell said it appears Jordan reached into the bag he was carrying and pulled out a .380 caliber pistol. A short scuffle over the gun ensued, resulting in Wallgren getting the weapon away from Jordan, the detective said.
When Jordan allegedly went after Wallgren, Carnell said the homeowner reportedly fired the pistol twice, hitting Jordan in the head. Jordan died at the scene.
Authorities are conducting interviews and following all leads in probing this case. Carnell said while the men were acquainted, the incident may have had something to do with a previous assault involving Jordan and a member of Wallgren’s family.
Sheriff’s investigators have sent the pistol to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation for trace-testing and for fingerprint tests on the gun, the magazine and the bullets, Carnell said.
Because a homicide involves the death of a person at the hands of another, this case is being investigated as a homicide, officers said.
Wallgren has not been arrested in connection with the shooting, Carnell said, because this case could possibly fall under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. That laws specifies that people can use deadly force if they believe they are in danger in any place where they have a legal right to be. That same law also prevents authorities from arresting persons in these types of circumstances, Carnell said, so Wallgren was questioned about the incident, then released.
It will be up to the district attorney’s office to determine whether this shooting falls under the “Stand Your Ground” law, and whether any charges will be filed.
Sheriff Mike Booth said they are being proactive and following all evidence in this investigation.
“We’ll collect as much evidence as we can and submit it to the district attorney’s office,” Booth said.
Jordan was a lifelong Saint Louis resident. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in Konawa. Watch for further updates as they become available.

Charges filed in large meth bust

Two suspects arrested after Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies seized about 577 grams of methamphetamine from their vehicle have been formally charged.

Robert Lester Keitz, 26, Checotah, and Danette Lola McNeal, 44, Stigler, are charged in Pottawatomie County District Court with the felony of aggravated trafficking in illegal drugs. They are accused of acting conjointly and knowingly possessing more than one pound of methamphetamine on Aug. 19. They also are charged with the misdemeanor of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, accused of having electronic scales, baggies and a glass smoking device.
Both were arrested after they apparently got their pickup stuck along Old Highway 270 near Dale.
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Capt. Travis Palmer said in addition to the 577 grams of finished powder, deputies also confiscated about 1.5 pounds of cut product, which would have been about 3.5 pounds of street methamphetamine when finished.
Deputies Mark Burden and Eric Fletcher worked the scene and arrived after a passerby had stopped to help the motorists pull their pickup back onto the road.
Deputies questioned the two traveling in the pickup and let the passerby leave. The male at the scene had no identification and gave deputies several different spellings of his reported name. Once deputies determined his actual name, they discovered he had an outstanding drug arrest warrant in McIntosh County, then the drugs and paraphernalia were found.
Both were booked into the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center on $50,000 bond.
Thursday, Keitz remained jailed, but McNeal had been released after posting a $50,000 bond.
If convicted of the felony charge, aggravated trafficking is punishable by imprisonment of four years to life and a fine of $50,000 to $500,000. Keitz, who has a former felony conviction, could face eight years to life in prison, if convicted.
The next court date for the defendants hasn’t yet been scheduled.

Deputies arrest five burglary suspects

Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputies arrested five suspects Thursday shortly after a residential burglary.  Sheriff Mike Booth said Deputy Chad Pope made a traffic stop of an alleged suspect vehicle, which led to recovery of stolen property and the arrests.  Pope said a rural residential break-in had been reported and the suspect vehicle, a white Dodge pickup, left the area. As Deputy Ken VanDuser worked the initial burglary scene, Pope, also responding, noticed the possible suspect vehicle and followed it from the area of U.S. 177 and Hardesty Road into Shawnee.  With information matching the suspect vehicle, including partial tag numbers, Pope said he made a traffic stop at Kickapoo and Ridgewood streets.  The truck, which turned out to be stolen, had items in the bed of the pickup that matched those taken from the burglary, Pope said, including a computer.  Five persons in the truck — two males and three females —were arrested at the scene, Pope said.  As he continued to work the case Thursday evening, the suspects were being booked into the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center on complaints of burglary and possession of stolen property.  Watch for further updates.