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Caught culprits linked to additional crimes | News

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Caught culprits linked to additional crimes
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Polk County, Florida-- UPDATE: Officials say three more victims have come forward as of Tuesday claiming they, too, had been duped by the traveling scam artists.

The suspects have now been linked to 23 cases of Fraud, Grand Theft and more after the unlicensed "handy men" paved driveways with inadequate materials.

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It wasn't too long ago that officials warned county residents of the Spring season's routine "gypsy" thefts and "traveler" scams. 

Now, just a couple of weeks later, Polk officials say they have already placed four scammers behind bars.

According to reports, scam artists arrested in the Auburndale area last week have since had 10 more people complain that they, too, were swindled.

See also: Cops: Beware of 'gypsies' and 'travelers'

The scams consisted of traveling "handy" men claiming they could pave driveways for a fee of $650. Instead of doing a proper job, the men reportedly used a rock and dirt mixture, and then left the area.

According to the arrest affidavit, the mixture crumbled when walked upon, separated when driven upon, could be pulled apart by hand, and had foliage growing between the created cracks.

Further investigation revealed that none of the four suspects had documents to prove they are licensed to work in the county, or even the state. However, they did provide a fraudulent license that listed a fake business name and address.

On Tuesday, PCSO detectives met with all 10 of the newly outspoken victims and took sworn statements from them about how the suspects took money from them to pave their driveways, and then used inferior products.  

The victims then positively identified the men, and provided evidence of the shoddy materials used during the job. 

Officials say all four suspects are still in the Polk County Jail on the original charges, but will now face additional charges. They are now also being denied their original $30,000 - $40,000 bonds for their new list of over 70 charges each.

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