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Police in Logan County, WV looking for man accused of scamming people for money

Police are on the hunt for a Logan man accused of soliciting money from strangers.

Victims are claiming the man is asking for gas money, but then drives away with their hard-earned cash. Now they're posting his picture on Facebook so others don't fall victim to the scheme.

Police also are searching for the man, identified as Billy Ooten. Not only is it against city code to solicit money on city property, but it turns out Ooten has warrants out for his arrest.

It's a picture shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook in less than 24 hours.

The man who posted it didn't want to be identified in fear of retaliation but said Ooten managed to get money from him.

"This man is obviously making a career out of looting people out of their hard-earned money," he said.

The man said it happened Friday night when Ooten came up to him in the parking lot of the Logan Fountain Place Mall.

"He said that he had run out of gas, he had kids in the car, he needed to get them back to Boone County and he had no way to do it," he said. "I opened up my wallet, I had $4 in my wallet, and I handed it to him."

But the very next day, the man said he was at the mall and Ooten approached him again with the same story. He didn't give him any money, and that's when he saw Ooten approach at least seven more people -- getting cash from each and every one. When Ooten was leaving, the man snapped his picture and posted it on Facebook.

"That photo had been shared close to a thousand times and there were hundreds, literally hundreds of comments from people saying, 'Oh my gosh this man approached us the other day, this man approached us, ' " said J.E. Garren with the Logan County Detachment of West Virginia State Police. "There is a city ordinance that the Logan City Police can issue him a ticket for pandering, soliciting. But as far as state police goes, we can charge him with fraudulent schemes or obtaining money by false pretenses."

But those aren't the only charges he's facing. It turns out the Logan County Sheriff's Department issued two warrants for Ooten in May for transferring and receiving stolen property and petit larceny. According to the warrant, Ooten took a Lincoln Mig Welder and pawned it in Boone County for $125.

Now police are asking for anyone who's seen him to give them a call.

While a number of people have come forward on Facebook saying they've been scammed by Ooten, state police and Logan police said not one person has come in and filed a complaint.

They said if he approaches you, do not give him any money and call police.

State police are currently looking for Ooten to serve those warrants. They said he lives in Pecks Mill but was last spotted in Man.


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