LITTLE ROCK – Tropical Storm Laura brought devastating weather to Arkansas and wreaked havoc on our communities and neighboring states. As countless storm victims assess the damages, con artists see opportunities to take advantage of Arkansans who suffered property damage or losses. Vulnerable Arkansans should use caution when seeking a contractor or professional to complete repairs.
“Arkansans always come together after a natural disaster, but it is also common in bad situations to see bad actors,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These bad actors prey on victims of severe weather to take advantage of the potentially urgent nature of storm damage repairs. I urge anyone who is seeking home and auto repairs to be cautious of potential scams that are common after storms.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to ensure consumers hire reputable contractors to complete the repairs:
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800- 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected as Attorney General. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking office, she has significantly increased the number of arrests and convictions against online predators who exploit children and con artists who steal taxpayer money through Social Security Disability and Medicaid fraud. Further, she has held Rutledge Roundtable meetings and Mobile Office hours in every county of the State each year, and launched a Military and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll back government regulations that hurt job creators, fight the opioid epidemic, teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as co-chairs of the National Association of Attorneys General Veterans Affairs Committee, re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture and was the former Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region. As the former Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, she remains active on the Executive Board.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The family has a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.
HEBER SPRINGS — Charges filed and trial dates have been set after a March 25 law enforcement raid of a suspected drug house resulted in stolen goods and methamphetamine being recovered.
According to online court records, Karla Renee Figueroa, 42, of Heber Springs has been charged with maintaining a drug premises, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft by receiving. The warrant affidavit cited Figueroa as a habitual offender. Online court records show Figueroa has a pending trial date for an earlier arrest after drugs were found in the car she was driving in a late-June arrest by Cleburne County Sheriff’s deputies.
Per the affidavit for the March 25 incident, a Cleburne County detective began an investigation after receiving information of a “Karla” selling drugs from a Spinks Lane home in Heber Springs, which he confirmed. Further investigation confirmed it was Figueroa.
In the course of investigation, the detective was informed that Figueroa was a suspect in a theft investigation by Heber Springs Police. Two men suspected of the theft were living in Figueroa’s Spinks Road home. Police had received information that “multiple items of stolen property” were in the home, per the report.
A search warrant was filed and signed by a judge, and the warrant was executed March 25 at 4 p.m.
“Upon execution of the search warrant detectives located Karla Figueroa along with multiple items of stolen property altogether valuing over one thousand dollars and less than five thousand dollars along with various items of drug paraphernalia,” the affidavit states.
Listed with the items found are paraphernalia used for preparing and injecting methamphetamine. In the report, a detective tested residue found which showed positive for methamphetamine.
Also found were power tools, including a chain saw and belt sander, paint guns and other miscellaneous items, including a CB radio and hand tools.
After being read her rights, Figueroa told police two men had stored the tools and equipment at the home with her permission. She knew they could not afford the items, and “reasonably believed it was stolen,” the report stated.
The drug paraphernalia was hers, she told the interviewer, also admitting that others came to her house to buy and use methamphetamine.
The report states that Heber Springs Police recovered the stolen property and charged two men with burglary. The drugs and paraphernalia was sent to the state crime lab, the affidavit concludes.
Records show Figueroa has a Jan. 6 pretrial and Feb. 3 jury trial scheduled in 16th Circuit Division 4 court with $20,000 bond. At press time she was in custody in the White County Jail.
Arkansas reported its largest single-day increase in new coronavirus cases, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced during Friday’s briefing.
The state reported 1,094 new cases, bringing the state’s cumulative total since the pandemic began to 64,175.
A dozen more Arkansans died as a result of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, Hutchinson announced, bringing the state’s death toll to 873 as we head into the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero said the holiday weekend is “anxiety provoking” for those in the health care field and once again urged Arkansans to follow the guidelines – social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing – that have been scientifically proven to help curb the spread of the virus.
Washington County, where the University of Arkansas is located, was once again the county with the most new cases in the state with 215. Of that county’s cases, 82 percent were from the 18-24 age range.
The governor said he had spoken with the UA chancellor and the Fayetteville mayor, who are both taking action to help prevent further spread from college students both on and off campus. The chancellor said the student code of conduct will be enforced for on- and off-campus activities. All social gatherings will be limited to 10 or fewer people or face consequences of violating the student code. The mayor said Fayetteville police will beef up patrols in areas well known for drawing large crowds, such as Dickson Street. The university had nearly 400 active cases of virus as of Friday.
HEBER SPRINGS - Heber Springs Police report an Aug. 28 incident where a pickup truck was stolen from a Main Street address.
Per the police report, police were called at 8:30 a.m. when a woman reported her pickup truck, which she parked outside here home the night before at 11:30 p.m., was missing. The truck was a gold 2011 Dodge Ram crew cab.
The only set of keys to the truck were with her, she told police.
Heber Springs Police Chief Brian Haile cautioned earlier that the department had been seeing an increase in vehicle thefts. Parking with the doors locked and without keys in the ignition would reduces thefts and vehicle break ins, he said.