11/14/06 — Alleged con artist caught after four-week manhunt

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Alleged con artist caught after four-week manhunt

By Lee Williams
Published in News on November 14, 2006 1:45 PM

A LaGrange woman accused of defrauding local residents out of money has been taken into custody.

Tina Michelle Newsome, 27, of Echo Drive, who was being sought by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office for more than four weeks, was apprehended at the New Hope Trailer Park. She was charged with one count of obtaining property by false pretenses. Bond was set at $3,000.

The felony charge stems from a criminal complaint filed by a Wayne County woman identified only as "Ms. Wade," Wayne County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. R. Thomas Flores said. Driving a black Mazda pick-up truck, Ms. Newsome approached Ms. Wade at her home on U.S. 13 North on Sept. 19, Flores said.

"She stopped at the home of Ms. Wade and gave a sob story," Flores said. "She said that she left Greenville to go to Beulaville to help her sister who had gotten beaten up."

Ms. Wade told authorities that Ms. Newsome told her that she left her purse at home.

"Ms. Wade gave her $10 and the suspect said that she would send her a money order as soon as she got back to Greenville in the amount of $10," Flores said.

The $10 money order never came, officials said.

Ms. Wade learned after her encounter that Ms. Newsome had been conning other residents out of money with the same story for six months, so she filed a complaint with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Flores said he received several complaints about Ms. Newsome's alleged activities. Most residents declined to press charges.

According to officials, Ms. Newsome, who called herself, "Rose Whitley," had been operating in the U.S. 13 North area near the Greene County Line. Ms. Newsome allegedly told victims that she was from Greenville, Rocky Mount or Wilmington and that she was stranded here with her two children, officials said.

She also allegedly told victims that she came to Wayne County to help her sister, who was in an abusive relationship with a Hispanic male, officials said.