101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

Warrants issued for four in theft of property cases

Warrants have been issued by the Bella Vista Police Department for the arrest of four individuals in cases related to theft by deception, including deceiving an elderly Bella Vista resident with dementia out of more than $80,000.

The warrants have been issued for Adam Houston, 35, of Reeds, Mo.; Shannon Myers, 43, of Carthage, Mo.; Makayla Houston, 32, of Jasper, Mo.; and LeRoy Ellis Stark, III, 31, of Pine Bluff, Ark. Charges for all four are theft of property and criminal penalties for the abuse of an endangered or impaired person, both Class B felonies.

These four suspects are known for operating deceptive business practices in the four-state area, including northeast Oklahoma, southeast Kansas, and southwest Missouri.

Several incidents were reported in Bella Vista in June 2021 involving these individuals scamming elderly residents out of money for work done on their homes that was unnecessary or incomplete. In most cases, two of the four would show up to a residence and offer to do work, such as driveway resurfacing, yard work or roof cleaning. The subjects would then either be paid up front and never return or would pretend to perform such work and find other jobs they said needed done, such as chimney cleaning.

All victims in these recently reported cases were over the age of 70.

One report states the elderly man with dementia in February paid these individuals approximately $81,000 in multiple installments for a few trees cut, a small deck painted, and a small amount of concrete work done. When detectives approached reputable contractors to compare the actual costs of these projects that were completed, estimates received totaled only about $7,000.

The multiple payments to Houston and the others resulted in this man’s bank account balance to be negative by thousands of dollars.

Houston pleaded guilty in 2019 in Jasper County, Mo. to deceptive business practices and was ordered to refrain from entering into any contract with elderly individuals, according to police documents.

Bella Vista Police detectives urge residents to be leery of those who show up offering to do work at a residence, especially if the work seems unnecessary like sealing a roof. If you are seeking a contractor to perform a specific service, look for those who have a good reputation in the community, but are also licensed and bonded in the state of Arkansas and the specializations in which they work. Registered LLC businesses can be found on the Arkansas Secretary of State website: Arkansas Secretary of State website: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/corps/search_all.php.

Never pay for services up front, and don’t let any workers into your home if you don’t know them.

The City of Bella Vista requires door-to-door solicitors to have a permit, which they should present at any residence when asked. Solicitation is allowed by city ordinance from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. These rules do not apply to religious groups, the press, or certain nonprofit organizations, which are protected under the First Amendment.

A posted “No Solicitation” sign at your residence means solicitors are not allowed on your property. Without this sign posted, it is lawful for solicitors to knock on your door. The sign also does not apply to the groups protected under the First Amendment.

If you feel you have been a victim of this type of crime, or any type of scam, you are encouraged to call the Police Department at any time of day. If you feel uneasy about a situation that could be a potential scam, it just might be, and it never hurts to ask further questions.

If you have any information regarding these individuals, call Bella Vista Police at 479-855-3771. Those with active warrants may turn themselves in to the Police Department at any time – 105 Town Center, Bella Vista.