Montana woman charged for River Falls theft, partner to multiple-state scammer
An 83-year-old River Falls man was scammed out of $7,150 in March 2015 after agreeing to have check-up work done on a lightning rod protection system by a construction business which turned out to be a fraud.
Two men and one female were responsible for the crime done under the business named P.M.C. They had approached the River Falls victim stating they were taking over the business owned by their grandfather who originally installed the system which now needed work.
The female, a Montana woman named Rebecca A. Robbins who was 19 years old at the time of the crime, was arrested on a warrant signed June 18, 2015 and charged with theft - false representation as a party to a crime.
Robbins will appear in court for a preliminary hearing at the Pierce County Courthouse June 13.
A criminal complaint has been filed for one of the men involved, Chuck S. Baker, but no other information is available on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.
In a later investigation, it was discovered that Robbins had ran away with Baker. Baker was wanted out of Utah for scamming an elderly woman in Clearfield, Utah, which was broadcasted on the news. Along with the Utah crime, Baker has several active felony warrants out of Texas for financial crimes such as forgery, burglary, fraud and a probation warrant out of Pennsylvania.
Robbins's father told a Pierce County Investigator that Baker had a stepdad somewhere in the Wisconsin area.
According to a criminal complaint:
A deputy was dispatched to N8036 Highway 29 in River Falls on March 14, 2015 at 12:43 p.m. where the River Falls victim gave a report of a theft.
Two male individuals arrived at the victim's home on March 10, 2015 and informed him that the lightning rod protection system on his house needed a check. They said their grandfather had originally installed the system, which the victim did have, and the two men were taking over their grandfather's business.
The victim agreed to let them check the system and was later informed the system looked bad and needed some work. The system had taken 47 lightning strikes, the men said, and they would need $1,650 in the form of a check made payable to cash to check the system.
The males returned at 7:45 a.m. March 12, 2015 and said the victim would need a whole new system for the cost of $9,600.
The victim signed a contract and was going to make an initial down payment of $5,500 which would be needed for the materials and would disburse the rest of the payment after the job was complete.
A cashier's check for the $5,500 would not work due to their books, the men said, and they would need that amount in cash, which the victim agreed to pay.
The cash payment was given in person by the victim to a female, identified as Rebecca Robbins, at the Perkin's Restaurant parking lot in River Falls. The male individuals said they could not collect the money because they were busy and had to go to another job, so they sent the female.
In a later investigation, no surveillance video cameras were present at Perkins which might show the parking lot encounter.
The males said they would start work on March 14, 2015 but never showed.
At this point, the victim stated he still did not know the names of the men in the business but he believed the names could be Bill and Chuck but was not sure.
He did not have a license plate number from their vehicle. The only description he could give for the vehicle was it was an older, darker truck.
The men gave a business card that said "P.M.C." and "No job too small or big" with a phone number on it. The victim had not called the phone number on the card.
The deputy made a copy of the signed contract proposal for the first payment of $1,650, which had a note saying the victim waives the three-day right to cancel. The victim could not find the other contract proposal for the second payment of $5,500.
A name could not be found in connection with the phone number on the business card, but it was a Verizon phone number.
In an attempt to contact the P.M.C. business, someone answered the phone with P.M.C. Construction. The deputy stated he was looking to get a lightning rod system put into place on his house in the River Falls area and the man on the other end said he was doing a job in that area and could possibly come by and give a bid next week. He said he was located out of Madison and Menomonie offices. The deputy thought the business could be legitimate after hearing the man on the phone say they took over his grandfather's business 5-7 months ago.
The deputy then identified himself to the caller and said why he was calling. The man said he did have contracts with the River Falls customer and would be at his residence to work on the system once materials came in, which had been late.
The caller said he was Richard D. Raynes, 25 years old at the time of the crime, and his coworker's name was Anthony T. Raynes, 31 at the time of the crime. The conversation broke up over the phone and the deputy lost connection. The deputy attempted to call again and the number had been disconnected.
An investigation conducted by a Pierce County Sheriff's investigator found that the names and dates of birth given by the caller on the P.M.C. phone number were false,after searching United States driver's licenses.
Cell phone records retrieved from a subpoena to TracFone showed a number starting with *67, which is used to block the caller's number from showing up on the receiving person's phone.
A call to the number was answered by a George Robbins who said Rebecca was his daughter.
"Let me guess, you're looking for Chuck Baker?" Robbins said on the phone.
Rebecca had run away with Baker, who was wanted in multiple states including Utah, Texas and Pennsylvania for having committed scamming crimes before.
After a look into a new phone number George gave the investigator, two name matches were found for William Thompson and Rebecca Robbins. The victim had thought one of the men's names were Bill. No records for Thompson can be found on Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.
The investigator confirmed Baker and Robbins had been at a pawn shop through video security at Burnsville, Minn. after searching APS which showed Robbins had pawned a few items on March 5, 2015. The suspect vehicle in the pawn shop video was an early 2000's Chevrolet pickup truck, dark blue in color.