I’m telling the following story as it happened to my husband and me. The intent is not to slander anyone or cause harm. I just want to warn people of a scam in Cleveland.
On Saturday evening, July 12, my husband Doug was out watering our flowers. A man approached him. [He] actually parked in our driveway and got out of his car with his beautiful little girl. She appeared to be around 2 years old. He told my husband he recognized him from church and even said he used to live near Georgetown Road where we previously lived. He apparently asked questions to obtain enough information to try and make us think we actually knew him.
Well, my husband knew right away that he did not know him, but the man convinced him that he knew me. The man is in his late 30s. My husband brought him in to our home.
The man convinced me right away that he used to go to our church. [He] even asked me how things were going down at the church. I attend South Cleveland Church of God. I even asked, “Have you been there since we relocated?” and he said “no.”
Anyway, he proceeded to tell me a story that his wife had died with a brain aneurysm during child birth six months ago when they had their second child. He was quite emotional telling the story. He went on to say his mom was coming here to help him, but she and his brother were in a car wreck and his brother was killed. His Mom was critical and he needed to get to Texas to take his 6-month-old to see her before she died.
He claimed he had a job at Wacker, but they had laid him off. However, he had been called back to work and would be going back on Wednesday.
Long story short, he needed money. He said it would take about $300 to get to Texas and back, and that would be just for gas. He had $150 and offered to work if we could help him out. By now, I’m in hook, line and sinker. The cute little girl he brought with him was certainly pulling at my heartstrings.
I gave him all the cash I had in my purse and my husband threw in $20. He was smarter than me. He kept some of his money. Anyway, we gave him about $80. He said he would pay us with his first check. I said, “Don’t worry about it. Just have a safe trip to see your mom and when you return get your babies in church.”
“Yes ma’am!” he said.
As soon as he left I felt I had been scammed. I thought of a hundred questions I should have asked, but didn’t! Anyway, wanting to know if any of the story was true, I decided to look him up on Facebook. He told me his name was “Donald,” but he gave me a fake last name.
I found his alleged wife on Facebook. When I found her, I found him with his real name. He is not married, but the girl whose name he gave me is the mother of his children. I decided to randomly choose one of her friends and message the person to see if any of his story was true. The mother of his children is very much alive. The friend I contacted told me he is a con artist and everything he told me was a lie except the fact that he does have the two children. She also was willing to give me the names and phone number of the grandparents.
I contacted their grandfather (his girlfriend’s father). He confirmed what I already knew, that the guy has never had a job. He just goes from people to people and church to church with one story or another and begs for money.
While I am sorry that I gave this guy money that my husband and I worked very hard for, it is not the money that most concerns me. Of course, first and foremost, I’m worried about Donald’s soul because he is on a path that will lead him straight to Hell. Secondly, I am worried that he uses these precious children in his scam business. And I’m also worried that he will approach someone who will believe him (as I did) and give him money they cannot spare. They may give him their food money and do without. This man should be stopped!
You might wonder why I didn’t call the police. Well, I did. I filed a report on “Donald,” but I guess begging is really not a crime and telling lies is not either. However, the officer called me back the next day and said she had spoken with her supervisor and I could press charges. In order to do that, I would have to go and sit in court multiple days until the case came up. If I weren’t there when it came up, it would be thrown out. I chose not to go that route because he probably would not show up anyway.
However, I can do this. I can warn you about him.
People approach my husband and me all the time. Money we have given such people came from our hearts. What they did with it was on them. We plan to be more cautious in the future. Should others approach us, we will offer to contact the police to see if there is an agency to help them. I suggest you do the same.
[“Donald” is] rather clean-cut looking. He should really go to Hollywood because he is a great actor.
Hope this information will help someone and maybe even “Donald” himself if someone buys him a newspaper.
— Pat Storey