Anyone who had followed various TV legal dramas knows that using credit cards leaves a trail and the collie con man Nicholas Patterson left one that crossed several states using credit cards stolen from his grandparents. Patterson turned himself in last Thursday and will be extradited to Alabama from Iowa according to the Alex City Outlook.
Patterson had disappeared from the Alabama property in June, but while the Alex City Outlook states that his "downward spiral" began in June when 14 malnourished dogs belonging to Patterson were found in outdoor enclosures, there are clear indications that Patterson's pathway into fraudulent dealings started much earlier.
Patterson had been living in Alabama before. One wonders why he left Alabama for Florida and then returned. According to the newsletter for the Shelby County Arts Council, Patterson was the Arts Council Youth Choral director in February of 2011. At the time he had three children with his wife Kim: Gracie, Silas and Ainsley. Those kids must now be eight, six and three and according to the Alex City Outlook, there is already a fourth child. The Shelby count Arts Council newsletter called Patterson a "gifted musician" and a "profoundly talented pianist." According to the newsletter, Patterson got his first gig as a music director at a church at age 16. He was the first student from his hometown of Kellyton to be accepted to the Classical School of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and he received a full scholarship to the University of Montevallo, but he left college at 18 and traveled to Pennsylvania to become a competitive dog show person.
Few people make a living showing dogs, particularly just one breed. Sources online complain that Patterson had been accused of substandard treatment of his dogs in Alabama before and attempts had been made to warn other collie owners when Patterson moved to Florida. Yet none of the complaints had been published online in a manner that was searchable by the public. This is a real buyer beware story.
Looking at Patterson's collie credentials online, one could easily be convinced that he was a trustworthy collie breeder. The Collie Club of Georgia lists Nicholas Patterson as a co-owner (with Bernard Noland Jr.) of Champion Arborhaven The Sound of Silence for its February 2014 show. In a January show of the Piedmont Collie Club, Patterson is listed as the owner of Sunnland Isabella The Prophecy at Arborhaven under amateur owner handler. For the same show, he is listed as owner of Bandor Arborhaven Bittersweet Symphony.
Last year, there's a listing for him at the St. Petersburg Dog Fanciers Association show with the Sunnland dog again with an additional listing as owner (with Deborah Falk) of Aurealis Arborhaven Redemption for American-Bred Bitches.
Patterson is listed as the owner of Champion Arborhaven The Sound of Silence (with Bernard Noland) for the Overlake Collie Club January 2013 show (Smooth Select Awards). He was at the Greater Jacksonville Collie Club with the Sunnland dog in January 2013 as well.
The Collie Club of America lists a Nic Paterson as the co-breeder of Champion Arborhaven I Have a Dream in the 2005 national catalog. He is listed as Nic Patterson the co-breeder of Champion Twin City Abiding Grace (with Carl Williford). Abiding Grace was the Rough Best of Winners/Winners Bitch for five points at the 2004 Collie Club of Alabama show. He is listed as co-breeder of Lynloch Conewago Timepiece (2003).
Patterson had been involved with collies for a long time. At some point, the collie people in Alabama became aware of some problems. The problems were recent enough and serious enough that warnings were allegedly made when he moved to Florida. According to his LinkedIn account in June, he had been employed by the Shelby County Arts Council from January 2010 until September 2011. In 2011, Patterson had moved on to Naples, Florida. Or that's when his LinkedIn account lists venues in Florida.
In early July, his LinkedIn account listed his start date at Global Tech, a small lighting fixture company, as October 2012. That reference has disappeared. According to a spokesman for Global Tech, Patterson is being sought for felony theft (embezzlement).
By February of 2014, Patterson was back in Alabama. He received a warning from animal control about feeding his collies, but claimed due to a foot injury the neglect was temporary. When the animal control officers finally raided his property, it was too late for some of the malnourished dogs. One died the next day. The corpses of six dogs were unburied. Patterson was then charged with one count of felony cruelty (for the death of a dog due to starvation), 14 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to dogs and six counts of failure to properly dispose of the remains of animals.
Patterson was on the run with his grandparents' credit cards and some checks according to police reports. Alexander City Police Department Capt. Tommy Lovett told the Alex City Outlook that the investigators believe that Patterson returned to Florida, then went to Nebraska before he ended up in Iowa. He now faces additional 56 felony warrants for fraudulent use of credit cards and writing bad checks. The monetary total may be as high as $20,000 for his one month on the run.
The exact date of Patterson's return to Alabama wasn't reported, but it is likely he will have to answer to more than just the authorities there.