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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cave City couple charged as con artists

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A woman whose husband was arrested June 29 for allegedly conning people out of money, is now charged herself.

Ralphetta Crabtree, 34, of Cave City was charged with one count of theft by deception, a class A misdemeanor, July 3. Her husband, William Crabtree, 29, who already had two charges of theft by deception filed against him in June, was charged with seven more counts, bringing his total to nine, said Cave City Police Chief Vernon Gann.

Around 9 a.m. July 3 a resident called Gann telling him that a month ago Ralphetta Crabtree came to her home asking for money, claiming that her husband had run off and left her with three children, Gann said. Ralphetta Crabtree allegedly told the woman she needed the money to buy food for the children. The resident gave her $30, Gann said.

"Ralphetta stated that her husband, William, did not leave her and she just used that story so (the woman) would feel sorry for her and give her money," Gann said after interviewing Ralphetta Crabtree. "Ralphetta stated that this was the only time she had actually done this. She stated that her husband, William, had always been the one who did it in the past. I explained to Ralphetta that this was illegal and that this did not need to occur again."

The unnamed woman told Gann that William Crabtree had come to her home twice in recent months begging for money, Gann said. The woman gave him $40 on two separate occasions, Gann said.

The unnamed woman contacted police after she heard William Crabtree had allegedly conned other people for financial gain.

Gann began investigating William Crabtree in mid May when a local business owner told him she had given him $20.

Crabtree came into the business, told the woman he had talked to her husband and he said it was OK to give him $20 so he could travel to his mother's funeral, Gann said. The woman later talked to her husband who told her he didn't talk to Crabtree, Gann said.

About three months earlier Crabtree had gone to the Maxville Baptist Church and borrowed money, claiming he needed money so he could go to the hospital, Gann said.

On June 26 Crabtree went to another business and told the female working that he needed money to take his child to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Gann said. The woman gave him $20 but contacted police June 28 when she became suspicious, Gann said.

Gann interviewed William Crabtree June 29 at the police station.

"On that occasion William admitted that he had been going to several businesses and people in and around Cave City asking for them to give him money," Gann said. "He stated that he would tell them different sad stories hoping that they would feel sorry for him and give him money. He stated that he had obtained money from at least 10 to 12 different people under false pretenses."

Crabtree also told Gann that his child did have a cold but he did not seek medical attention.

Crabtree's other stories included that other family members died, his disabled daughter needed medication, and he needed to go to the hospital, Gann said.

Ralphetta and William Crabtree will appear in Sharp County District Court Aug. 3.

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