Callaway County authorities continue to caution area residents against a potential asphalt driveway paving scam, but there is little they can do unless and until a local resident calls to complain they have paid for services or materials that were not rendered.
"Certainly if a person is deceived into turning over payment for a service that proves not to be (what they paid for) there is the possibility for felony stealing by deceit," Callaway County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Wilson said. "But it's rare to hear about that being reported in a timely manner, usually several weeks have passed before a complaint is made and it kind of takes on a civil nature."
Wilson said it can be very difficult to prove that a service provider never intended to provide the proper service or materials paid for.
"In order to get that kind of evidence, the complaint needs to be made quickly," he said.
Without complaints to take action upon, the most authorities can do is stop and question service-providers who appear to possibly be less than above-board.
That is precisely what Sgt. Bill Akers with the Callaway County Sheriff's Office did Friday morning when he spotted a vehicle and trailer he suspected might be connected to recent complaints about a crew in Callaway peddling asphalt paving services. Those complaints have alleged that crews claiming to be with F&F Paving were offering to pave driveways using recycled asphalt millings and then performing shoddy work with gravel mixed into the asphalt.
"At about 10:35 a.m. I was on routine patrol in the county. I went past Mertens Mini Mart on NN and noticed a white International truck with a trailer with paving equipment on it," Akers said, noting the truck had identifying markings. "The two occupants were outside the vehicle. I made an investigative inquiry, and they said they were both employees with F&F Paving out of Hannibal."