The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

January 9, 2009

Suspects arrested in scams of elderly

By Jeff Lehr

NEOSHO, Mo. — Marty W. Rickey, alleged home invader and swindler of the elderly, is back in the Newton County Jail on fresh charges of running the same old game.

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said investigators in his department believed Rickey, 33, of rural Seneca, to still be in custody in Kansas, where he was sent after being acquitted by a jury in November of charges related to a three-state crime spree in 2005 involving his brother and another man.

But when a report surfaced Thursday of a 72-year-old man who got into a scrape inside his home on Goldfinch Road with a younger man trying to squeeze money out of him for phony roof repairs, the scam seemed all too familiar. Copeland said his department checked with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and learned Rickey was no longer in jail there.

A man falsely claiming to be with Tamko Roofing went to the door of the man on Goldfinch Road and tried to get him to pay for repairs to his roof, Copeland said. When the man refused, the would-be swindler hit him in the face with his fist and the two began wrestling inside the house, the sheriff said.

The younger man claimed to have a gun and threatened to use it on the older man when the older man gained a hold on him. That caused the older man to let go and run to another room to grab his rifle, the sheriff said. The home invader then fled the house. The sheriff said a second suspect was believed to have been waiting outside in a pickup truck, and the two drove off.

“A photo lineup of possible suspects was shown to the victim, and he picked out a photo of Marty Rickey as being the assailant,” Copeland said.

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