2 arrested, charged in scam that targeted businesses

By RON HARRIS
Posted 6/25/19

Two people have been arrested and charged with trying to scam several local businesses over the past few weeks. Randel Keith Stephens, 56, of Cordova, and Belinda Sue Walker, 49 of Jasper, are …

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2 arrested, charged in scam that targeted businesses

Posted

Two people have been arrested and charged with trying to scam several local businesses over the past few weeks.

Randel Keith Stephens, 56, of Cordova, and Belinda Sue Walker, 49 of Jasper, are being held in the Walker County Jail after being arrested Friday and charged with trying to scam five local businesses out of cash.

Jasper Police J.C. Poe said five businesses in Jasper were targeted by the scam.

Stephens has been charged with two counts of first-degree theft of property.

Walker is charged with one count of first-degree theft of property. More charges may be filed against Walker.

Poe said a bond hearing was held Monday for the pair, and a judge set a $30,000 property bond for each.

The mastermind of the scam, Poe said, was a third person currently incarcerated at a state prison in south Alabama.

The man, who was not identified because formal charges have not officially been filed against him, reportedly called local businesses from prison. The scam involve someone calling and saying the business was in possession of counterfeit money, and that the money had to be obtained by law enforcement agents.

Information was swapped between the caller and employees, and arrangements were made to obtain the money from one of the employees of the business.

“Keep in mind, law enforcement does not operate in this manner,” Assistant Police Chief Paul Tucker said. “Law enforcement officers will be able to identify themselves with a badge and commission card.”

Employees at two of the businesses that were targeted fell victim to the scam and suffered monetary loss, Poe said. The businesses were not identified.

Poe said Cordova Police Chief Billy Dill was instrumental in helping Jasper police make the arrests. “Chief Dill came up with some information as to who may have been responsible for the scam,” he said.

JPD investigators followed up on the information provided by Dill, and that led to arrests being made.

“When local businesses get calls from people saying they are law enforcement, but it just doesn’t sound right,” Poe said, “it’s probably not.”

In a separate case, Jasper police arrested a suspected shoplifter at a local business.

Ryan Colt Wallace, 30, of Parrish, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of third-degree theft of property after allegedly stealing items from The Home Depot in Jasper.