PARK RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) – Police in northwest suburban Park Ridge said a smooth-talking con man duped lots of people out of valuables over a period of years, and they expect the case against him could snowball once people see his mugshot.
Park Ridge police were asking for the public’s health in a fraud investigation against David Wooten, a man they said has been using a fake identity to fleece people in at least four states.
Detectives have been tracking Wooten from Illinois to Indiana to Wisconsin to Missouri.
Authorities found him in Chicago, and arrested him more than two months ago, and have been building a case since then.
Wooten had been wanted on an arrest warrant from 2007 in Des Plaines, but he had managed to stay ahead of authorities until March.
Police said Wooten’s alleged crimes date back years, in multiple jurisdictions.
Park Ridge Deputy Police Chief Lou Jogman said Wooten set up shop in Park Ridge last summer, establishing a fake company, using a fake identity. After establishing relationships with several people – who though they were selling him cars, sports memorabilia, artwork, and jewelry – Wooten disappeared before paying any of them.
“Really, it was just the gift of gab. That’s essentially it. This man was very convincing,” Jogman said.
Detectives believe Wooten could have more than 100 victims, and police were asking people to come forward if they believe they recognize Wooten and believe they might have been conned by him.
“Many people won’t know him as Mr. Wooten,” Jogman said. “They’ll know him as another name, but maybe someone who took them for some money or a car. He has used so many different names. These crimes could have been reported in other jurisdictions in those four states, but under different names.”
He already has been charged with four felony counts of theft, and one misdemeanor count of theft.