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Convicted animal abusers now accused of buying horses with hot checks

Posted: 10:43 PM, Dec 13, 2017
Updated: 2018-08-09 00:45:44-04

Two convicted animal abusers with ties to El Paso County are under arrest in Oklahoma.

Jeff and Naomi Pridgen were booked into the Cleveland County Jail which is located just south of Oklahoma City.

Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross first profiled the Pridgen’s nearly two years ago to the day.

At the time, the couple claimed to run a meat delivery business in Peyton, but multiple families say they never got their beef or their money back.

The couple was later found 665 miles to Oklahoma where they are accused of stealing horses.

“I had two palomino horses named Molly and Dolly,” Oklahoma resident Rodger Brooks told KWTV News 9.

Brooks sold two of his horses to the Pridgen’s for $4,500. He still has the contract and bad check the Pridgen’s reportedly gave him.

“I gave them many chances before going to Lincoln County courthouse and filed (a case),” Brooks said.

Rodger isn’t the only victim the Pridgen’s targeted.

In another Oklahoma case, a victim says he sold the couple 4 horses for nearly $40,000, but never got paid.

In December 2015, News 5 exposed a phony meat delivery company the couple ran. Homeowners told News 5 they paid cash up front for large quantities of beef which never existed.

“She will not pay back the money,” one victim told News 5 a week before Christmas 2015. “Now I’m out $525. This is food I counted on to feed my children through the winter. I’m irritated and I want my money.”

News 5 confronted Naomi and her husband outside their Peyton home to ask questions about refunding homeowners their money.

“For the people who have not received a refund, how soon can they see their money?”

“Within the next 48-72 hours,” Naomi told Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross. “Just contact me.”

Naomi and her husband never made good on their promise and apparently were back to their old tricks in Oklahoma—even using different aliases.

“(She would go by) Naomi Pridge or her husband goes by Jefferson Edwards or Jeffrey Edwards,” horse rescuer Kelly Bridges told KWTV News 9. “They use the last name Pridgen or Huckins.”

Court documents obtained show warrants and numerous criminal investigations all over Oklahoma.

“It ranges from scams to animal cruelty and they are potentially wanted in other states as well,” Cleveland County Sheriff Todd Gibson said.

He’s right! News 5 Investigates has learned the Pridgen’s have active warrants in El Paso County. Public records reviewed by News 5 show the Pridgen’s also have ties to other states including North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas and Michigan.

Just hours after the Pridgen’s were arrested at their rental home in Oklahoma, News 9 found about a dozen horses and other animals on the property. Some were in bad shape and others looked sick. News 9 also reports one dog was found dead in the backyard.

“Hearing what they are doing to these animals is a sin,” Brooks said. “Anyone that knows anything about this lady or her husband, come forward and let’s get it all out in the open.”

Sheriff Gibson says the Pridgen’s crimes in Oklahoma span over a decade and believes there may be victims all over the state.

Back in Colorado, Naomi Pridgen has an active warrant for fraud. Her husband has a warrant for animal cruelty.

Court documents show the Pridgen’s both pleaded guilty in El Paso County court earlier this year to animal cruelty.