IPD officers take journey out West

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 20, 2004

Even 1,000 miles away, Matthew Shane Seal could not escape the long arm of the law.

Seal, 19, of Kimball, W.Va., was wanted for his part in a roofing scam last month that tricked an an elderly Ironton woman out of $18,200.

The fugitive was apprehended last week in Tyndall, S.D. Ironton Police detectives Jim Carey and Jim Akers left early this morning to bring him back to face third-degree felony charges of theft.

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"This guy is more or less a gypsy type," Police Chief Bill Garland said. "He travels all over the country and bilks people out of money."

Seal was apprehended in Tyndall and arrested after his identity was determined. At least seven other agencies in three states have warrants for his arrest that stem from similar incidents, but none as severe as the Ironton case, Garland said.

According to the IPD, Seal allegedly knocked on the victim's door and told her that her roof was leaking. He then convinced the woman to sign three personal checks, but leave the amounts blank. He cashed the checks but never made any repairs.

Neighbors reported they saw at least one other person with Seal. Authorities are looking for at least two other individuals who may be involved.

The IPD officers will drive more than 12 hours to pick Seal up since it was determined that it would cost the city more than $1,200 if the U.S. Marshall's Office transported him. It will cost the city less than $1,000,

and that includes the detectives' regular pay, Garland said.

Once he returns, Seal will appear in Ironton Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing. He will then face the grand jury and may eventually be sent to Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

"If we can get him back here and get a conviction, the victim may be eligible for reimbursement through the Ohio Attorney General's Office," Garland said.