Suspected Irish Travelers arrested - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Suspected Irish Travelers arrested

February 3, 2004

Clay County -- The Irish Travelers are a well known group of con artists. They travel the Southeast doing sub-standard work, like painting or roofing.

Two men, believed to be Irish Travelers, are being held by the Clay County Sheriff for theft by deception. They are charged with cheating people by doing bad paint jobs. A warning there are likely more of them working in South Georgia.

The paint is already coming off Gerald Isler's farm buildings. Sheriff Roger Shivers said "it's just sub-standard work, sub-standard materials. Just a rip off. Straight scam."

It was January 18th when Patrick Riley showed up at Gerald Isler's farm. "He was an extremely high pressure, fast talking individual."

Isler hired Patrick and Danny Riley for $1450 to paint his buildings. But before they even left Isler knew the paint was thin. Isler said "The smell of gasoline or fuel was very,very strong, so it was obvious they were using a diluted mixture."

A mixture that wasn't even paint. Sheriff Roger Shivers said "It's nothing but a little bit of coat tar, mixed with gasoline and aluminum flake. That's what gives it the color."

The Riley's were arrested in Albany February 1st. The Sheriff says their background quickly revealed they are members of the Irish Travelers, an organized family operation based out of North Augusta, South Carolina, cheating people for decades.

Sheriff Shivers said "They've got a scam for virtually every season of the year. And they are down here because it's warm enough they can still do this type work."

Not just in Clay County, but across Southwest Georgia. Gerald Isler says watch out for workers you don't know.

Isler said "They deserve to be arrested. They need to be put out of business." He found out the hard way.

Sheriff Shivers has found 7 other victims of the Rileys. If you think you may be a victim, call your county Sheriff.

posted at 4:32 PM by jimw@walb.com