SCAM ARTISTS PROWLING RIDGELAND & SURROUNDING AREAS
FEBRUARY 20, 2015
The Ridgeland Police Department has recently been receiving complaints in reference to suspicious persons in the Town limits presenting themselves as local utility employees, sales people and even cleaning services in an attempt to gain money, credit card numbers, social security numbers and even access to homeowners' property. This scam can come in many forms including by telephone, letter, email and in person. The perpetrators usually identify themselves as employees of SCE&G, Centurylink, BJWSA, Servpro, etc. and attempt to convince the homeowner that there is some sort of problem with their service or pending emergency that requires them to enter the home in order to check wiring, waterlines, etc. Once inside the home the subjects will generally attempt to distract the homeowner in order to steal items or, in some instances, "case" the home for weak and/or easily concealed entry points in order to return at a later date and commit a burglary. Telephone calls and emails are sometimes used at which time the suspect will attempt to gain credit card information by telling the victim that their electric, water, phone, internet, etc. service will be interrupted if a certain outstanding fee or balance is not paid immediately. There have even been cases reported of persons impersonating local Court and City Officials telling victims that they have an outstanding legal balance or tax fee that must be paid in order to avoid anything from wage garnishment to property foreclosure. An incident occurred on yesterday's date at a West Main Street residence involving two males in a white SUV who gained access to the inside of an elderly female's home by claiming to be SCE&G employees needing to check her home's wiring and even going so far as to offer a fictitious $50 rebate on her electric bill if she allowed them inside. A similar incident occurred on February 6th when a local business owner received a telephone call from a person attempting to gain credit card information by presenting themselves as a SCE&G customer service representative.
If someone calls you, emails you or comes to your door claiming to represent any sort of company or local utility please do not hesitate to contact the company they are claiming to represent prior to agreeing to anything they may be saying or allowing them access to any personal information or property. These perpetrators are known to sometimes appear very legitimate with business cards, letterhead forms and even uniforms and vehicle logos of the companies they claim to represent and will do everything they possibly can to gain your trust and to sway you from calling anyone to verify their story. Most companies will not send any sort of representative to your home without several days prior notice and any legitimate employee will certainly have no issue with waiting a few moments while you call to verify their information. If the person is persistant in asking you to not contact their respective company, immediately close your door and dial 911. Below are a few telephone numbers for local utilities and agencies to keep handy in case such an incident should occur and you feel that you may be being victimized.
TOWN OF RIDGELAND 843-726-7530
PALMETTO ELECTRIC 843-726-5551
DISH NETWORK 855-318-0572
SUSPECT CHARGED IN 2014 BURGLARY
FEBRUARY 20, 2015
ALJAQUAN LAMONT HUGUE
A second degree burglary warrant has been issued against Aljaquan Hugue, 21 of Ridgeland, stemming from a February 24, 2014 incident at an Oakridge Trailer Park residence at 700 North Green Street. Officers responded to the residence during the late afternoon hours after the homeowner returned from work to find that someone had broken into the home through a kitchen window and stolen several items to include electronics and cash. Evidence recovered from inside of the residence was submitted to the Beaufort County Forensics Laboratory for DNA analysis which returned on yesterday's date with a positive match identifying Hugue as the person who committed the burglary.
Hugue is currently being held at the Charleston County Detention Center awaiting trial stemming from a March 6, 2014 burglary at an East Wilson Street residence where he was caught inside of the residence by the homeowner at which time he fled on foot to the DSS Offices at 10908 North Jacob Smart Boulevard where he changed clothes in the lobby men's room. He was then spotted by Investigators as he entered the Pizza Hut Carry Out at 10856 North Jacob where he was taken into custody without further incident.
RIDGELAND MAN SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON
JANUARY 12, 2015
JEROME ANTWAUN BARNES LEN GILBERT JR.
Jerome Barnes, 24 of Ridgeland, was sentenced to a total of 3 years in prison today after pleading guilty to Possession of Schedule II Narcotics 2nd Offense & Possession of a Controlled Substance 2nd Offense. Barnes' charges stemmed from a November 28, 2013 incident on West Main Street at the North Railroad Avenue intersection where he was arrested and charged by the Ridgeland Police Department after being found asleep behind the wheel of a black Pontiac Trans Am in the lane of travel with a quantity of narcotics in his lap just after 5:00 a.m. Barnes' passenger Len Gilbert Jr., 24 of Ridgeland, was also arrested and charged with Possession of Crack Cocaine as well as Unlawful Carry of a Pistol after being found asleep in the passenger seat with a 40 caliber handgun in his lap. He received a sentence of probation after pleading guilty to the charges in February of 2014. Both sentences were handed down by The Honorable Carmen T. Mullen. Jerome Barnes was represented by Attorney Jim Brown of Beaufort and Len Gilbert was represented by Attorney Robert Hughes of Ridgeland.