$75 million in
unclaimed funds
returned last year
Columbus — The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Unclaimed Funds reported this week that nearly $75 million was returned to Ohioans during the last fiscal year. The result was up from $69.2 million a year earlier and the highest total ever disbursed.
Department spokesman William Krugh said one individual was able to snag close to $744,000 in forgotten funds, though the average payout was closer to $1,500.
Unclaimed funds include monies that were lost or abandoned through the years by individuals who forgot they had bank accounts, failed to receive rent, paychecks or utility security deposits or lost stock certificates or checks.
The funds are required to be turned over to the state for safekeeping until their rightful owners can be identified.
Ohioans can search the state’s unclaimed database online at www.com.ohio.gov/unfd.
— Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

Turnpike warns of E-ZPass email scam
Berea — Ohio Turnpike officials are warning their E-ZPass customers of an email scam.
Officials said July 14 that emails from the sender “EZPass Info” are likely attempts to steal personal information from some of the 150,000 customers who use the automated E-ZPass system to automatically pay tolls on the northern Ohio thoroughfare.
The email says the customer owes money and asks the receiver to click a link to download an invoice.
The same e-mail scam also has been reported in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.
Officials say the customers with questions about the validity of a message from E-ZPass should call the Turnpike’s customer service center at 440-234-2081, extension 1075.
— Associated Press

Ohio weighs drones for prison security
Dayton — Drones could join guards keeping an eye on inmates in two Ohio prisons, according to the state corrections agency.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is taking public comments over the next month about the proposal for unmanned aerial vehicles at Lebanon Correctional Institution and Warren Correctional Institution in southwest Ohio.
The drones, to monitor prison yards and fences, would augment existing security staff as opposed to replacing guards, Ed Voorhies, the agency’s operations managing director, told the Dayton Daily News on July 16.
The agency is considering three camera-carrying options: a tethered helium balloon, a quad-copter and a fixed-wing vehicle.
Christopher Mabe, president of the union representing prison guards, doesn’t oppose the concept but says evidence shows prison violence is best handled by more staff.
— Associated Press

Woman critical after rock dropped on car
Akron — A Northeast Ohio woman was in critical condition July 15 after police say some teenagers deliberately dropped a rock from a highway overpass onto the windshield of the family’s car in Pennsylvania last week.
Sharon Budd, 52, was struck in the face by the rock dropped onto Interstate 80 near Milton, Penn., on July 10. Four teens are charged with assault for dropping the 7- to 8-pound rock from an overpass.
Her husband, Randy Budd, told the Akron Beacon Journal July 14 that she was is in critical condition at a hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania, and was to have another surgery July 15.
Sharon Budd, a language arts teacher in Perry, was sitting in the front passenger seat when the rock blasted through the windshield at around 11:45 p.m. July 10.
Randy and his 19-year-old daughter Kaylee — who was driving — were not injured.
— Associated Press

Phone call led to false shooting report
Athens — A police chief says a phone call to his village water department led to an investigation into a possible shooting at Ohio University.
Bryan Mount, chief in Mount Orab in southwestern Ohio, says caller June 15 claimed to have shot his mother and gave an address in Athens, more than 100 miles away.
Mount tells the Columbus Dispatch he directed a dispatcher to notify authorities, not realizing the address was an Ohio University dormitory.
Mount says the caller, who gave his name as John Jackson, claimed to be calling from his iPod but police believe the call was probably made from a computer, making it untraceable.
No sign of a shooting was found at Ohio University in Athens.
— Associated Press