Arkansas & Missouri Police Working Together to Nab "Linoleum Bandits"

March 15, 2005 – Posted at 5:17 p.m. CST

REGION 8 -- Residents in five towns have been on the look out for two white males driving a white pickup truck, posing as linoleum salesmen. And while Region 8 police officials are searching for the suspects, they're also trying to help out law enforcement in Missouri do the same thing.

"We're staying in contact with all the agents. Newport, Walnut Ridge, West Memphis, Hoxie," said Corning Police Chief Jim Growning, "We're staying in contact daily with them."

"We had an elderly lady report that two gentlemen came to her residence wanting to sell her linoleum," said Chillicothe Police Department Captain Roy Akerson, "And while she was talking to these people, one of them held up the linoleum, blocking her view."

It's the same song and dance, only this time, it's more than 300 miles away. "Anymore the way the highways are and the way vehicles are, they made pretty good time," said Akerson.

This time, the 77-year-old victim was robbed of more than $300 dollars. So far each incident has been the same. Two men trying to sell linoleum who end up driving away with cash, checkbooks and personal papers.

The 'Linoleum Bandits' hit Newport on March 8th, Jonesboro on the 9th, and both Corning and Hoxie on the 10th. On the 11th they were in Chillicothe, Missouri and on Monday, in West Memphis.

"It is the same people using the same M.O. It's not a copycat," said Detective David Burnside of the Hoxie Police Department.

Each department is working together to keep it from happening again.

"If we get information from another police department, we compare that with what we've got and we share information we have with another police agency," said Burnside.

"This is a priority for us because of the older people, and we're going to stay on this account of the older people," said Growning.

Detective Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department said, "We will investigate this to our fullest capacity and hopefully we will be able to track down who the suspects are and get them into custody."

Police officials say it's only a matter of time before the suspects are caught.

"We're following up on all the leads we have," said Burnside, "We do have some evidence we will be submitting to the crime lab in Little Rock."

Anyone with any information about the suspects is urged to contact their local police department.