Sheriff warns of lightning rod scam in the county

Three elderly people in Marion County recently purchased lightning rods and associated equipment at prices higher than necessary in an apparent “scam” operation, according to Sheriff Lee Becker with the Marion County Sheriff’s office.

“For two hours of work, you get the lightning rods, cables and a weather vane,” Becker said. “The amounts (charged for labor and equipment) have varied a little bit, but $2,000 is the amount that seems to be the the magic number.”

Becker said he has been contacted by family members and area banks concerned about the welfare of the three individuals and others who might be approached.

“These people go directly to the bank that the check is drawn on and cash the check,” Becker said.

“That’s happened twice. With the third person, they were going to a bank in the Hillsboro area that had experience with it before, and they turned the check away.”

After contacting the customer, the banks stopped payment on the check, Becker said.

The description given to authorities is of three white males driving a white pickup with a Texas license plate and a ladder rack.

“I talked to the county attorney, who will have to refer it to the attorney general for investigation,” Becker said.

“But, I certainly want the elderly people to know that anytime they have a question about someone, or they’re uncomfortable about writing a check, to give me a call. And I will be more than happy to come out there.”

Becker also said that anyone with concerns about questionable sales of this nature can contact the local police department.

“They should remember that they do have an advocate here, and we’ll try to take care of them,” Becker said.

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