Sheriff’s Office warns of arrest scam

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a scam in which a deputy’s name was used to get money from an unsuspecting person.

According to Shelby County Chief Deputy Jim Frye, on Sept. 28, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received a call from an unknown caller asking for the name of the road supervisor, which was Deputy Warren Melerine. The caller then asked what his badge number was and that was given to them.

On Sept. 30, Detective Chris Brown received a call from Sgt. Tim Kennedy of the Sidney Police Department advising they had taken a report of a subject who was scammed out of $948. During the original call to the victim, the caller told him he was Lt. Melerine, badge number and there was a warrant for his arrest and that his bond was $1,000.

The victim said he didn’t have that and the caller said “I will call Mr. Zimmerman and get back with you.” The caller called the victim back and said he got his bond reduced to $948. The victim said he could pay that. The caller then instructed the victim to go to CVS and purchase two “money pak” cards.

The caller stayed on the line with the victim as he drove to CVS and obtained the cards. Once the victim had purchased the cards he was instructed to give the card information to the caller. The victim was then instructed to go to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office where he would be reimbursed by check.

The victim advised the caller he would go to the Sheriff’s Office immediately and the caller asked him to give the caller time to get to the office because he wasn’t there at the time. It was not long after that the victim reported this to Sidney Police Department.

“After learning of this we started an investigation, in checking the number the victims received the call from,” said Frye. “We found that it was a voice system indicating it was the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. We also learned that the Logan County Sheriff’s Office had the same incidents occur, with the same voice prompts.”

On Oct. 2, the Sheriff’s Office received two calls from citizens who had received calls from two different numbers telling them they had warrants for their arrest, These citizens hung up and called the Sheriff’s Office.

“We were able to get the number deactivated and are still continuing our investigation,” said Frye.

On Oct. 3, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen that advised she had received a call advising she had a warrant for her arrest. This citizen became a victim as she was scammed out of approximately $1,400, in the same manner as what the first victim was.

“We ask that if anyone receives a call of this type that they immediately hang up, do not give them any information and call the Sheriff’s Office right afterward,” said Frye. “Remember, no law enforcement agency will call you advising you that you have an arrest warrant, please do not fall prey to these people.

“If anyone receives a call we urge them to call their local law enforcement agency and if you are a Shelby County resident, please call the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 937-498-1111,” he said.