Man arrested after bank employees alert police

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Investigators from the Indiana State Police along with Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel have expressed their gratitude to the employees of the MainSource Bank in Versailles after they alerted authorities about a check that came through their financial facility. Officials say, “Their concern for the welfare of their customers prevented a substantial monetary loss to the victim."

According to information from Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. of the Indiana State Police, Versailles Post, their department along with the prosecutor, investigated a case of home improvement fraud last Friday, October 12 that resulted in the arrest of Robert L. Herrin, 66, of Manilla (Rush County). He was charged with one count of Home Improvement Fraud, a Class D felony.

Police say when a check for a substantial amount of money was presented to be cashed by Herrin at the Versailles Branch of MainSource Bank, employees were suspicious. They knew the account belonged to an elderly customer and notified the state police. Assistant Branch Manager Vickie Kessen said of Customer Service Representative/Teller Chris Miller, who waited on the customer, “She knew something was out of the ordinary.” The good part is Miller acted on her instincts. Together Kessen and Miller have over 50 years of bank experience. “I believe Chris’s experience had a lot to do with her decisions,” noted Kessen. Both employees say they were “just doing their job,” one they take seriously.

The investigation revealed that Herrin had approached the victim at her home saying he believed she had squirrels or other rodents entering her home from the roof and vent areas. He convinced her to contract him to do repair work to prevent infestation and then charged her thousands of dollars for materials and labor. According to police the amount of materials and labor was more likely to be less than $100.

Police warn senior citizens about scams of this nature saying they go unreported often because the victims don’t realize they’ve been scammed until it is too late. The scammers often prey on the elderly and will often claim there are problems with the roof or gutters on the homes of the victims.

If you are approached in this manner, you should contact family members, neighbors, or other trusted people for assistance. You should only contract with reputable businesses to do any home improvement work.

Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of home improvement fraud should contact the police. Helpful to police would be a detailed description of the person doing the work along with vehicle information including license plate number and state of issue.

Assistant Branch Manager Vickie Kessen and Chris Miller, customer service representative/teller, at the MainSource Bank in Versailles, have saved a customer a substantial monetary loss due to their quick thinking. When a man tried to cash a check, Miller noticed something "wasn't quite right" and had it checked out. The end result was good for the bank customer and bad for Robert L. Herrin, 66, of Manilla, who went to jail for Home Improvement Fraud.