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Multistate phone scam artists arrested

Will Grandbois
wgrandbois@postindependent.com

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A Silt man was among three people arrested in connection with a series of scams around the country this summer.

The hunt began in July, when at least eight gas stations in Eagle, Garfield and Mesa counties fell victim to a three-person phone scam. It ranged over nine states before the arrests earlier this month of Jerry Davies, 40, of Silt; Sean Acree, 18, of Cincinnati; and Katherine Ferneding, 28, of Lakeside Park, Kentucky.

According to Glenwood Springs police, the scam typically involved sending one of the three suspects into the store to inquire about employment and the identification of the store’s manager. This person would then leave and share this information with the accomplices. A second person later called the business posing as an auditor from the store’s corporate office.



The store employee was told that an audit was being conducted as a result of an embezzlement case, and if the employee did not cooperate, the employee could face discipline. While still on the phone, the scammer told the employee to count all the currency and said that another corporate employee would arrive to collect the money. The called kept the employee on the phone until the third person arrived to collect the money.

Glenwood Springs detectives were able to secure felony extradition arrest warrants for the three suspects, combining all Western Slope incidents into a single criminal episode. Following this, the Colorado Parole Office issued a nationwide no-bond warrant against one of the suspects. Similar incidents were later reported in Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Arizona and California.



On Oct. 6, Glenwood Springs detectives were contacted by detectives with the Riverside Police Department in California, who were investigating recent similar fraud schemes.

Through the coordination with Glenwood police and Colorado Department of Corrections Fugitive Task Force, Riverside detectives were able to locate and apprehend all three suspects in Palm Springs, California. In addition to receiving a full confession from one of the suspects, detectives were also seized evidence linking the suspects to multiple thefts in various states.

Authorities are still determining whether the suspects will be tried in state or federal court.




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