MARIETTA - One man is in custody and the investigation continues in connection with a blacktopping scam in Washington and Wood counties, an official said.
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the Saturday arrest of Joshua Caldwell, 26, of Princeton, W.Va., took the cooperation of an area business.
"We had an arrangement with the people at the (Marietta) Comfort Inn to call us if someone should arrive for items that had been left behind," Mincks said.
Mincks said personal property of the suspects had been left at the motel after officials traced the truck to one of the same description parked in the hotel's parking lot.
When officials confronted the group, they fled and left their belongings at the motel.
Caldwell arrived at the Comfort Inn on Saturday to pick up the items and Marietta police officers were there to make an arrest. He is currently being held in the Washington County Jail on a fifth degree felony charge of theft by deception.
"I believe this is the case out of Newport where they charged an elderly woman $1,500 to blacktop her driveway and only threw oil down," Mincks said. "They apparently told her that the oil would swell and turn to blacktop in two days."
Mincks said officials in his office believe Caldwell is one of several con artists who were able to coerce several residents in Wood and Washington counties to pay to have their driveways re-paved and never did the work.
Mincks said Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy and his office are also investigating the incidents on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River.
Sandy was not available Sunday night.
"It seems that the crimes in West Virginia were more severe," Mincks said. "I think I heard one report of a couple being charged more than $8,000 for work never done."
While the investigation continues, officers hope to make additional arrests, he said.