for immediate release
September 24, 2004

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office has arrested two men from North Carolina who charged a Mary Esther resident triple a fair market price for tree removal services.

William Harold Smallwood, age 38 (6-13-1966), of Raleigh, NC; and Christopher Davlynn Lindsay, age 37 (4-21-1967), of Cary, NC, were arrested yesterday (Thursday) after the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office learned of apparent price gouging by two men doing business as "Black Bear Tree Service."

A 71 year old resident of US Highway 98 in the Florosa area, west of Hurlburt Field, said she paid Smallwood and Lindsay $8,500 because she was desperate for tree removal necessary for electric power to be restored to her home. A local tree contractor estimated the price for the work at $2,000 to $3,000.

Smallwood and Lindsay were charged with Price Gouging, Conducting Business without an Okaloosa County Occupational License, and Exploitation of an Elderly Person. The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office seized their equipment, including a pickup truck, a "bobcat" earth mover, chain saws and other tools.


for more information contact Sgt. Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420