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Detective Warns Citizens To Watch Out For Roofer 'Flim-Flam'
BY ERIC CARLSON
A Brunswick County Sheriff's detective warned local
residents Monday to be on the lookout for a "flim-flam
artist" and his accomplices who allegedly swindled an
H4-ycar-old Sunset Beach woman out of nearly $10,(XX)
The same man is believed to have pulled a similar
scam again Monday afternoon, after which he was near
ly captured while attempting to cash a 77-year-old
Bolivia woman's check at a Southport bank. Detective
Tom Hunter said.
Hunter has asked authorities to be on the lookout for a
man identifying himself as James P. Hart, 29, of Elkhart,
Indiana. The suspect is described as a white male, 5 feet
10 inches tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with black
hair and brown eyes.
Hart was last seen leaving the United Carolina Bank
branch at Sawdust Trail, Southport, Monday afternoon.
He was a passenger in a white van with a ladder tied to
the roof. Hunter said.
The sheriff's department was notified after a Sunset
Beach woman reported being approached Thursday by a
man in a red pickup truck who identified himself as
James Hart of Gorman Roofing Co.
"He told her the lightning rods on her house needed
replacing." Hunter said.
After installing three lightning rods, the man request
ed $1,900 for the work and was given a check in that
amount. Hunter said the man returned to the woman's
home the next day with four other workers and informed
her that ? while working on the roof ? he noticed her
chimney flashing also needed to be replaced.
This time, the man charged the woman $2,900 for the
additional work, for which she wrote him another chcck.
Hunter said. Then, about three hours later the man came
back and claimed he accidentally overcharged her by
"He pulled a check out of his pocket and waved it at
her. Then he tore it up and asked her to write him anoth
er one," Hunter said. "He told her not to bother filling in
the numbers and said, 'Just go ahead and sign it and I'll
have my secretary make it out."'
Through interviews at local banks. Hunter has learned
that the blank chcck was made out for $4,900 and
cashed at a branch in Shallottc Friday afternoon. The
$1,900 check also was cashed.
The detective has been examining area bank records
to determine whether the con artist also cashed the
$2,900 check he supposedly tore up.
Although the suspect used a red pickup truck in the
Sunset Beach scam, Hunter believes one or more addi
tional vehicles may be involved. He feels the group is
likely to repeat the offense.
"He parked the pickup at the end of the driveway,
where she couldn't see the tags," Hunter said Monday
morning. "There were four people with him. so there
was probably more than one vehicle."
Sure enough, later that day Hunter overheard a 911
radio dispatch asking Deputy Mary Cron to investigate a
Bolivia woman's report of being defrauded out of $800
for the installation of a single lightning rod on the roof
of her home on Green Lewis Road.
"This time he offered to write out the check for the
woman to sign," Hunter said. "Then he tore two checks
out of the book and kept one."
On his way to the UCB branch in Southport. Hunter
had the 911 center telephone bank personnel and request
that they not cash the chcck. When the suspect arrived,
he was asked for identification and produced a photo ID
card issued in Indiana Nov. 14 and bearing the name
James Hart. Bank tellers tried to keep the man there un
til police could arrive.
"They weren't able to stall him, but they got an excel
lent description. They were real observant," Hunter said.
"They said he got into a white van that was driven by
another white male. They said the vehicle had a ladder
Hunter was given a copy of the hank's surveillance
video tape, from which he hopes to obtain a good pic
ture of the suspect. Hart's name and description have
been entered into the National Criminal Information
Computer, said Hunter.
"It seems pretty obvious that these guys arc on the
move and that they've done this before," Hunter said.
"There's no reason to believe they won't try it again."
Det. Hunter asked anyone who has been approached
in a similar manner contact him at the sheriff's depart
ment by calling (910) 253-4321 or (800) 672-6379.
With Waste Firm
(Continued From Page 1-A)
TYash Contract Extended
Commissioners approved a three
year contract with Waste Industries
at an estimated cost of $180,000
next year. Increases the second and
third years will be tied to the region
al Consumer Pricc Index.
The new contract will include re
turn of carts closer to houses and a
change in yard waste collection. An
open-top container will be placed at
a central location and will be avail
able to property owners at all times.
Periodic curbside collection "was
very expensive and not real effec
tive," said Commissioner Debbie
In other business commissioners:
? awarded a $43,000 contract to
low bidder Mark Johnson Construc
tion Co. of Newton Grove to encase
and secure the sewer force main run
ning beneath the Intracoastal Water
way which has been partially uncov
ered by wake-produced erosion.
? accepted "with regret" the res
ignation of architect Joe Johnson
from the town planning and zoning
board, and named Judy Russell, zon
ing administrator with the Bruns
wick County Planning Department,
to complete the remainder of his un
? heard from Smith that the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers is still
working on its erosion control pro
ject recommendations, checking
sources for additional sand and
preparing several other project alter
natives for consideration. It may be
late February before the corps
makes its formal recommendation.
? learned from Mayor Betty
Williamson that the corps has de
layed its annual maintenance dredg
ing, saying there isn't sufficient ma
terial to warrant removal, and
Brunswick Electric Membership
Corp. is suspending the island un
derground utilities project until fall
? on recommendation of the town
attorney, decided to seek the audi
tor's advice on transfer of ownership
of the first responder vehicles to the
Ocean Isle Beach Fire Protection
Association. The town wants to re
duce its liability in the event of an
accident involving the volunteer-op
erated vehicle, but expects to in
crease its contribution to the associ
? agreed to refund to Stephen
Yount his $1,200 building permit
and to ask the planning board to rec
ommend a set procedure for han
? also referred to the planning
committee a proposal from Building
Inspector Druied Roberson to allow
owners of several newiy-endangered
east end homes to move and park
them temporarily on the island while
making arrangements for permanent
relocation elsewhere on the island.
Roberson said it typically takes up
to 60 days to process a moving ordi
nance, which could hinder rescue of
? agreed, with Proctor voting
against it, on Utilities Commissioner
Odell Williamson's recommendation
to advertise for bids for state-ap
proved extension of water lines to
Cumberland, Lee and Goldsboro
streets on the east end canals, and
West Second Street.
Proctor questioned the town pay
ing to extend service to the east end
streets, noting the town subdivision
ordinance requires developers to in
stall utilities. Williamson, the devel
oper, said the roads were part of an
already developed subdivision and
that it was an oversight the lines
were not previously installed.
? heard from Commissioner
Kendall Suh that the town is advo
cating a ban of menhaden fishing
one mile off of Brunswick County
beaches, a proposal that may not be
accepted by the menhaden compa
nies. "Once again we are at an im
passe," he said.
DEFENDANT Daniel Cummings, flanked by defense attorneys William Fairley (left) and Michael
Ramos, listens to testimony during his first-degree murder trial.
JEWEL HAH SOS shows ho* she saw Cummings aiming a pistol
at her after shooting her husband Burns Rahson to death in his
Ash corner store.
Jury Begins Deliberating Fate Of Cummings
(Continued From Page 1-A)
tion. Cummings told Hunter he
threw Babson's pistol out the van's
window before his capture.
"He wants you to believe that he
went in there with no gun and said,
'Give me your money,' and that they
got into a struggle over Mr.
Babson's gun," Bollinger told the ju
ry. "Folks, if he had given him that
much chance to get his hands on that
weapon, I don't believe we'd be
"But he didn't," Bollinger said at
the close of his argument. "He went
in their and gunned him down."
In addition to the murder charge,
Cummings is also accused of armed
robbery and assault with a deadly
weapon with intent to kill. The third
charge stems from events that oc
curred immediately after Babson
was killed. Cummings admitted go
ing around the building and firing
shots "to scare off' Jewel Babson
after she came from the couple's
nearby trailer to investigate.
"I could see a man on the other
side through the two doors." Mrs.
Babson said. "He ran around the
building and started firing at me.~
Cupping her hands together as she
spoke softly from the witness stand.
Mrs. Babson described how the man
held the pistol and pointed it toward
her. She later broke into tears as she
described entering the store and
finding her husband of 22 years
"laying there with a bullet shot in
his head "
Medical examiner Dr. J.L.
Alamida testified Tuesday that Bab
son probably would have died from
either the head wound or the bullet
in the back. Me said the upward path
Authority Names Stormwater Panel
(Continued From Page 1-A)
Purchase of the utility, which
serves mainly the Carolina Shores
area, was seriously studied when
sewer system planning first began
for the towns of Sunset Beach and
Calabash. It was later dropped from
consideration. Nothing's changed
since then, consulting engineer and
interim South Brunswick Water &
Sewer Authority director Joe
Tombro said Tuesday.
The authority is moving ahead
with implementation of the project's
201 plan submitted to and awaiting
Carolina-Blythe Plant Gets
Thumbs-Down From Authority
(Continued From Page 1-A)
Chairman George Knott said
Tuesday night that a stormwater
management program "should not
be very expensive." Preventative
measures taken and paid for by de
velopers constitute a large part of
the program, coupled with individ
ual property owner's actions.
Tombro said the authority needs
to look at the effect of stormwater
runoff on ground and surface waters
and to establish a "baseline" of ex
isting conditions for future compari
son. Cooperative Extensive Service
researchers at N.C. State University
in Raleigh have agreed to help in es
tablishing such a baseline.
The advisory committee is one of
two panels working on the issue of
storm water. A Sunset Beach com
Established Nov. 1, 1962
Published Every Thursday
At 4709 Main Street
Shallotte, N.C. 28459
IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY
One Year $10.36
Six Months $5.55
One Year $14.86
Six Months $7.90
ELSEWHERE IN U.S.A.
One Year $15.95
Six Months $8.35
Second class postage paid at
Shallotte, N.C. 28459. USPS 777
780. Postmaster, send address
P.O. Box 2558,
Shallotte, N.C. 28459-2558
mittee is drafting a model stormwa
tcr management ordinance, the first
step in the program. Committee
members are Councilmen Ed Gore
and Herb Klinker, planning board
members Sky Bramley and Richard
Good and authority members Hank
Mattutat and Bud Scrantom. Once
drafted the ordinance is expected to
become a model for ordinances
adopted by Calabash, Sunset Beach
and Brunswick County.
approval of the Division of
Meanwhile a Dec. 6 letter from
Burnett to his customers advises,
"Our utility will ultimately be sold,
either to the Town or some other
governmental body. Only with the
Town's acquisition will you have a
voice in future consumer rates and
fees and the quality of service you
"You need to decide if you want
to own your utility with a $4.5 mil
lion or become part of a S35.6 mil
lion utility plus the S4.5 million that
the town would be responsible for
debt service on."
The town is taking a straw poll,
with ballots due back Dcc. 17, to
help decide whether it should pursue
the purchase. "They're going to be
surprised when they get the results,"
authority member and former
Calabash commissioner Stuart
Thome said afterward, predicting a
strong vote against the purchase.
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of the latter bullet suggested that the
second shot was fired after Babson
collapsed fatally wounded on the
In his brief statement to the jury.
District Attorney Rex Gore lay
down on the courtroom floor to
demonstrate what he said was the
only other possible position from
which Cummin ?\ could have shot
Babson to rccult in such a wound
"If that's how it happened, don't
you think Mr Cummings would
have mentioned it in his statement9"
"The thing that separates man
from the animals is the power to
choose." Gore said to the jurors
"Daniel C'ummings made one choice
after another ? to come here, to find
a place to rob. to kill, to attempt to
escape blame by telling just a little
bit ot the truth Now is the time for
you to choose what the truth is "
In a front page story in the Dec. H
Beacon about the reorganization of
the Brunswick County Sheriff's
Department. Deputy Cathy Ham
ilton was erroneously listed among
deputies who lost their jobs
The Beacon regrets the error.
If Cumming*. 3V. is found guilty
of firM -degree murder, a second
hearing will be held in which the
same jury will dccide whether he
should be sentenced to death or life
Lows In 30s,
Highs In 50s:
llxpecl seasonable temperatures
and about a half-inch of rainfall over
the next few days, advises Shallottc
Point weather-watcher Jackson Can
The mercury should drop into the
upper 3<H at night and rise to the up
per 5<K during daytime, he said
lor the period of Dec. 6-12,
Tanady measured a maximum high
of 75 degrees on the 6th and a mini
mum low of 31 on the 12th for a
daily average high of 65 and an av
erage nightly low of 48 The overall
average temperature was 56 degrees,
about 7 degrees above average for
this time of year.
Me measured *%? inch of rainfall
at his home
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