Fleming County sheriff tracking down 'traveling gypsies'

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FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - They show up at your home, offering to repave your driveway. But officials have an alert, saying some traveling gypsies are just trying to scam you.

Sheriff's departments in Harrison and Fleming Counties say the gypsies have been taking the money from their victims but leaving without finishing the work or starting it at all.

"It was just too good to be true!"

One Fleming County couple, who didn't want to be identified, learned that lesson the hard way. Approached by a man named Jimmy Riley with a good price for blacktop services, they paid nearly 2,000 dollars up front.

"He took the money in advance, and he was supposed to come back June 25," said one couple who says they were victimized by Riley.

That couple got a call from a friend about the warning the Fleming County Sheriff's Office put out on Facebook about gypsy travelers soliciting blacktop services in the area.

"That's when we knew, and it was about three to four hours later after we'd given him money that we realized we'd been scammed."

Some paying cash and others writing checks which the sheriff says were cashed within 15 minutes of writing them. Riley was tracked at every local bank in Flemingsburg.

"He had sealed some driveways, and they looked nice, so I guess that was his in."

In the Greenbrook neighborhood of Flemingsburg, five driveways were blacktopped, but the Fleming County Sheriff Scotty Royse says at least 10 people have been scammed.

"They're upset that they've lost their money, and they'd like it back, but who knows if they'll ever get it," said the scammed couple.

The sheriff has been on and off the phone with Riley but can't seem to track him down. And now his phone has been turned off. With a South Carolina license and one vehicle with Ohio tags and another with South Carolina tags, Sheriff Royse says these gypsy travelers are bound to scam more people if they aren't stopped.

"I won't be as trusting anymore. I will double check. And I won't give anybody money up front. If it's too good to be true, it is!"

There is now an arrest warrant out for Riley in Harrison County where officials say he scammed 16 people of more than 30,000 dollars. And in Fleming County, the scam has totaled up to more than 10,000 dollars.

The vehicle Jimmy Riley was last seen in is described as a maroon Ford F150 with registered South Carolina tags. That plate number is CH507.

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