Stephens County_An investigation into a stolen horse trailer in Stephens County led authorities to a suspected con-artist accused of ripping off people across the country. Ronnie Summers, 35, is accused of a trail of con jobs and thefts spanning nine counties in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Summers was arrested two weeks ago in eastern Oklahoma on a stolen check charge.
So far, authorities have recovered more than $90,000 worth of stolen property, including saddles, tack supplies, clothing and there could be even more. They say they believe Summers shoplifted some, and possibly stole more from rodeos. He also is accused of swindling people - especially women.
When a Stephens County dealer sold a $53,000 horse trailer to Summers, he said he had no idea he was dealing with a fugitive, or that the check he was given was stolen - until he went to the bank, and eventually the sheriff's department. "We started learning a lot more about him," said Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney.
McKinney says that deputies, the Department of Agriculture investigators, and the Cattle Raisers Association tracked him - and the stolen trailer - to Henryetta, Oklahoma. "We've been able to find that this man has been rather busy across our county and about nine other jurisdictions across the country."
McKinney says Summers was stealing, conning women out of money, and forging checks. "Saddles, tack, clothing, trailers, this is the second trailer he's stolen, possibly some vehicles - he's been involved in quite a lot," he said. McKinney says his list of victims may not even include all of the people he has ripped off. Authorities say he has used aliases, too. "I think it's a good clear case of a con man here," McKinney said.
The sheriff says Summers doesn't appear to be very picky about what he steals. "I noticed a complete setup for a bull fighter at rodeos in there, and that young man, or whoever it was, that was their livelihood and now it's that guy taking that from them," he said.
Summers is being held on a $50,000 bond, and that's only for the stolen check charge. It is now up to prosecutors to review all of the new developments to determine what additional charges he may face. "There's seven or eight more counties that want him," he said. "We're going to get done with him first," McKinney said.
McKinney says investigators found Summers using cell phone tracking technology to follow him to Henryetta, where he was driving another stolen horse trailer. Authorities also are investigating whether it also was stolen.Count on 7News to keep you updated.
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