Police Suspect Community's Raffle Was Scam Target

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A Tennessee man is accused of devising a plan to scam this Cleveland suburb out of its $20,000 annual raffle prize.

Kenneth Ferguson, 61, of Crossville, Tenn., was arrested early Sunday, minutes after officials viewed a home video of the raffle drawing.

The video showed a man (pictured, above) walking onto the stage, greeting event organizers with his left hand and keeping his cupped right hand at his side. Police think he was holding a raffle ticket that was then drawn.

Ferguson was arraigned Monday in Berea Municipal Court on one count of complicity to theft, a fourth-degree felony. He was being held on $50,000 bond and has a preliminary hearing Friday.

Police said another man, also believed to be from Crossville, ran from the packed City Commons after police were called.

A Crossville woman whose name was on the raffle ticket is wanted only for questioning. Police said they believe she bought the ticket at a Strongsville gas station.

Police and witnesses said the men pretended to be from Australia and were given the chance to select the raffle winner because they had come the greatest distance to get to the community's drawing.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)