KINGMAN - People looking for a new home to rent will want to read this warning from the Mohave County Sheriff's office regarding a house rental scam that has been around for a few years in the U.S., and has apparently found its way to northern Arizona.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Trish Carter said two people have been victimized after responding to house rental ads on the Internet.
Here's how it works: The scammer claims to have a home to rent, or is the relative of someone who has a home to rent. The victims actually moved into the homes only to learn they were trespassing, even though they had a rental agreement and receipt for the money they paid the person.
Carter recommended people looking to rent a home in the county check the county's assessor website at www.mohavecounty.us/ContentPage.aspx?id=111. Among the information is the name of the owner of properties in the county.
Another victim, she said, sought to rent a home out of state that was found on social media. The victim emailed the scammer and sent a $700 money gram through Walmart. The victim didn't catch on until the scammer requested an additional $1,400 after the $700 money gram was cashed.
On Jan. 16, Mohave County Sheriff's deputies arrested Monica Angela Alvarado, 42, of Kingman on a felony charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and a misdemeanor probation violation warrant issued by Kingman Justice Court. A 44-year-old Kingman woman who was with Alvarado was arrested on a misdemeanor contempt of court warrant issued by Kingman Justice Court.
Deputies came into contact with the women during a traffic stop conducted at Northern Avenue and Norrie Drive at about 8:50 p.m.
Record checks revealed both women's warrants and they were taken into custody without incident. Alvarado reportedly told deputies she had a pipe used to smoke methamphetamine. She handed it over to them.
On Jan. 20, Mohave County Sheriff's deputies arrested William Joseph Stewart, 55, of Dolan Springs on a felony charge of burglary.
Deputies responded to an incident at a home in the 14600 block of Iron Drive the day before. The caller said a neighbor informed them Stewart was at her home tearing things off of her house.
Deputies noted fresh tire tracks on the property and they knew Stewart from prior contact, according to spokeswoman Trish Carter.
They located Stewart in his truck at a local business in the area of Pierce Ferry Road and milepost 6. Stewart reportedly told deputies he was at the Iron Drive property because he was thinking about buying the home. He also said he believed the property was abandoned.
Deputies advised him that abandoned or not, he had no right to rummage through the property.
Stewart allegedly admitted to taking a printer that was inside the home. The printer was in the back of his truck, according to Carter, and deputies took it as evidence.
The homeowner, a 67-year-old woman, said she wanted to prosecute Stewart. He was arrested at 11 a.m. at a swap meet in Dolan Springs.
Weapons offense, drugs
On Jan. 18, Mohave County Sheriff's deputies arrested Trishtina Hayley-Dawn Cota, 23, of Kingman on felony charges of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of a weapon during a drug offense and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.
Deputies contacted Cota walking in the 3300 block of Northern Avenue just before 12:30 a.m. Cota reportedly told them she ran out of gas and was returning to her vehicle.
Deputies gave her a ride to the vehicle, which was parked in the 4300 block of Castle Rock Road. When they got there Cota allegedly became "very nervous," according to sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter, and kept changing subjects and was evasive when answering questions.
Cota ultimately told deputies there was a firearm in the vehicle and allegedly gave them consent to search. They allegedly found the gun on the driver's side floorboard, along with two plastic bags containing methamphetamine. She was taken into custody without incident. Cota is prohibited from possessing a firearm after her felony conviction on a drug charge last November.