Transient 'Irish Travelers' spotted in Charlotte area

Transient 'Irish Travelers' spotted in Charlotte area

Transient 'Irish Travelers' spotted in Charlotte area

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 3:10 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office has issued a warning to area residents regarding the 'Irish Travelers', a group of transient contractors who authorities say target  homeowners with quick home repair job scams.

Authorities say the North Augusta, South Carolina-based group of contractors known as the Irish Travelers have started showing up in Lincoln County. They were spotted in the Boger City-area on Monday, but officials say no incidents have yet to be reported.

The group has visited the Charlotte-area each Spring for years, officials say, targeting the elderly in home repair and burglary scams.

In one such case NBC Charlotte reported on last year, an elderly Gastonia woman was taken for $1900 by the Irish Travelers who never performed promised work, according to the Gaston County Police Sergeant Myron Shelor.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says the group uses door-to-door high-pressure sales tactics for driveway blacktopping or sealing, roof work or painting.

"Their work tends to be very shoddy, very crude or they may not finish it at all,” Shelor told NBC Charlotte in an interview on the Irish Travelers in 2013.  "Or, they get close to the end and say we went over, so it's going to cost you more and demand more money and strong-arm people for more money.  They typically want cash only and don't take any other kind of payments.”

Shelor says they're also known to do is target the elderly and break into homes while the homeowner is distracted by all the repair talk.

They don’t sign contracts, won’t give local references or phone numbers and don’t stick around long, Shelor said.  If they don’t or won’t provide that information, think twice, he said.

The Sheriff's Office says most Irish Travelers drive utility trucks with South Carolina, North Carolina or Georgia plates.

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