Our “Car Repair” Scammer

This guy with the Jamaican accent keeps on appearing and running his scam. If you are new to this area, and are not familiar with this long-running story – he picks a parked vehicle in a parking lot and disables something under the front that is accessible from outside the vehicle. Then he waits for the victim to come back and watch them try to start their vehicle. Then he will suddenly appear, stating he is a mechanic and will be glad to fix the vehicle. Of course, he can fix the “problem” in a flash and then asks for cash. He quite obviously picks up a lot of cash as he has been doing this for years. Recently, he tried this scheme on a lady parked at the Pizza Hut at North Avenue and Boulevard whose son works at Midtown Tire on PDL Avenue. Her son and the store manager, Seth Jones, responded to her call for help and got pix of the scammer that are attached to this report. If this happens to you – Jones asks you to call Midtown Tire at 404-874-1112 and he will send someone gratis to make the needed repairs – they are open til 7 p.m.

Our Car Repair Scammer

Thanx to an alert and aware neighbor who sent the dialogue about this scammer in the attachment to this report. This is info to pass on to your neighbors and friends. If anyone suspects they have become a victim of this parking lot scam – DO NOT pay the guy who just happens to show up volunteering to make repairs – call 911 and then call Midtown Tire at 404-874-1112 who will come to your rescue at no charge, thanx to store manager Seth Jones.


John,

Wanted to make you aware of an incident at the El Azteca on Ponce De Leon. Have heard you describe this scam before on your emails, and it looks like the guy is back in the neighborhood. My office window next door faces their parking lot. I watched a couple pull up in a jeep Cherokee who went inside to eat. Not long afterwards I saw an older (60ish? grey whiskers) black male, thick glasses, walking up between the cars, acting as though he was talking on a cell phone, but he did not look quite right. He was wearing a bright green and yellow JAMAICA athletic jersey. I was on a lengthy phone call at the time. He disappeared for a moment, seemed to be sitting on the curb or squatting down right next to the front left wheel of the Cherokee. He then walked off to the south of the building out of site. A few minutes later, the couple came out, and the car would not start. they raised the hood, about the time I saw the guy returning to the lot with a new dark blue T shirt on in place of the brightly colored one. He walked into the restaurant area, grabbed a newspaper off the table and was hanging out outside next to a truck. I thought I recognized him as the same guy. He stood by the truck for a while. I was really suspicious at this point. After he watched for a minute or so, he not surprisingly offered help, and started talking with the jeep owner. At this point I got off the line and called 911 and told them I thought a scam was going on, gave them location, descriptions and the tag number of the car. he messed around under the hood for a while, then walked over to the truck as though he was going to retrieve some tools. When the car owners were not looking I watched him pull a pair of pliers out of his pants and then walked back over to the couple. After playing around with the battery for a while, he finally went back under the car in the location that he had initially ducked down before. Not surprisingly, the car then started. More pleasantries were exchanged and money changed hands. I went outside and to watch more closely and see if I could get a photo. Once the job was done, the perp walked back over the far side of the truck and acted as though he was putting his tools in the bed, then stood beside it, hiding behind the cab until the victims left the property. I managed to get a couple of photos of him while he was in this posture. They are attached. He became uneasy and stopped me and tried to strike up a conversation, telling me he was from CUBA and speaking with a really bad fake accent. He got spooked and made an exit , unfortunately before the police arrived. I got a few more photos as he walked away, also attached.

Unfortunately it looks like he got away, but thought it might be worth posting the photos so people could keep a lookout. He is pretty slick and cagey, the accents, the clothes changes, glasses on, glasses off, hat on, hat off, these were all pretty smart moves, he seems to be pretty well seasoned at this. Thought you would like to be aware.

Door Bell Ringers

We recently had a rash of reports of strangers at our front doors asking for donations or selling magazines for various reasons, and I hope that no one here got taken. This was quite obviously one of the rings that travel around to many cities, hit hard and leave. If this part of Atlanta was not successful for them, maybe we will be taken off the lists of good neighborhoods to hit at future dates.

I have also been informed that the Inman School will be having a magazine subscription drive and hopefully these kids will be wearing Inman t-shirts and have their parents in tow also and only be ringing doorbells on their immediate streets. If you are not interested in a magazine subscription, but would like to make a donation to the PTA you can send a check made out to Inman PTA and send it to Inman School, attn PTA, 774 Virginia Avenue, N.E., ATL 30306.

Interesting story about door bell ringers at http://www.miamiherald.com:80/2010/08/13/1774033/beware-of-that-neighbor-who-isnt.html This article underscores the distinct advantage we have here in VaHi with our Safety Team neighborhood watch in that you can know who your neighbors are and who is pulling your leg.

Yet Another Scam to Be Aware Of

There have to be some people who lay awake at night trying to think of ways to run scams. I just got the following e-mail from Joe McCoy telling me about this cash redistribution method I was not aware of – though after checking this afternoon I found that it is going on in various places around the metro area. Joe stated he was approached in the Midtown Promenade shopping center parking lot that past Sunday by 2 w/m in their mid 20s to early 30s who “were trying to get rid opf some home audio equipment”. He states that they were following the script described as the “White Van Speaker scam” as described in this Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_van_speaker_scam These particular guys were driving a late model hunter green Toyota Forerunner.

Speaking of scams – I haven’t heard anything at all lately about our infamous guy standing by the roadside flagging down cars, guess he has gone on to other neighborhoods for a while. The same with the guy who offers to repair your car after you can’t get it started in a parking lot, as well as the guys selling meat out of the back of their pickup truck. Hopefully they have all given up on this part of the city.

Yet Another Door-to-Door Story

Morningside has reported a new angle on door-to-door sales technique and product. This concerns a slim b/m in his early twenties with lots of tattoos, stating he is an ex-gang member, and is now selling bottles of cleaning solution out of a red duffle bag. He also has a towel with him for cleaning demonstrations. The bottles are priced at $39.95 each – or buy two and get one free (what a deal!!). These reports have come from Northview Avenue, Wessyngton Road and Cumberland Road. You know the drill by now – either yell through your door telling him to leave/ ask to see his city permit (which I would doubt he has), and or/call 911 with a physical description and which way he is headed after leaving your home. This scam has been around a long, long time – I will have to admit I fell for this back in the 80′s and bought a bottle of this stuff, finding out later it was no more effective than a bottle of Windex. I would assume this is some sort of a pyramid scheme. Also remember that door-to-door solicitations are unlawful after 8 p.m.

Our “Scammer” Arrested?

The guy who has taken so many of you folks for a “ride” while you were being helpful and offering him a ride may have FINALLY been nabbed this morning. I still have not been able to find out his name or what charges he was arrested on, but, I’m working on getting this info. In the meantime I had to let you know of this morning’s terrific story told by the heroine 911 caller in her own words.

“Our dapper neighborhood visitor (the black man dressed nicely in a suit) attempted to stop me this morning at University and Briarcliff. He said his car broke down and that’s as much as I heard him say as I floored it past him. He matched the exact description of the guy everyone talks about on the message boards. And strangely enough, the car he was pointing to belongs to a neighbor. I called 911 and they quickly took down his description and dispatched someone right away. 911 picked up on the first ring, correctly switched me from Atlanta to DeKalb and were prompt, courteous and took my call seriously. As I was watching him, he talked a driver into letting him into their car and drove off. I followed them while relaying our whereabouts to the 911 operator. For whatever reason, the driver pulled over into the Peachtree Baptist Church parking lot at Briarcliff and LaVista and the suspect rapidly got out. Two police officers were able to catch up to us, got out of their patrol cars and apprehended him..After searching him, they determined he needed to be arrested (not sure what was in his possession). The nice police officer said to me “rest assured, we are taking this man off your neighborhood streets.”

Job well done by our 911 system and our hardworking police officers. Yay!!!!”

Zone 6 has given me a contact name in the DeKalb County DA’s office – but (naturally) they were not in their office and have not returned my phone call yet. But, I really do want to see this guy get some justice served to him – so if I need statements from you folks who have been taken by him – I’ll be putting out a plea for help. Stay tuned!

This story also shows that it pays to be alert and aware and most importantly – 911 Calls Do Make A Difference!!!! Thanx again to the gutsy lady amongst us who really made a difference today !!

Our Neighborhood Scammer

Thanx to an alert Morningside resident who sent a query about a midnite encounter with a pedestrian at the corner of North Highland Avenue and East Rock Springs Road stopping passing cars stating he had been the victim of a car jacking – I would not have known that our infamous scammer was still active. After a posting on the neighborhood message boards about this incident, I learned a lot about this middle-aged, 6 foot tall, nicely dressed b/m, who has been scamming good samaritans for years now. He was located, thanx to a 911 report, and questioned by APD one recent rainy nite – but I have not gotten any word as to the outcome of this event. I counted 26 “true confessions” messages I received from folks who have given this guy 20 or 30 bucks just to get rid of him, and I am sure there are scores of other similar stories. He seems to commonly use tales of woe about needing to get to a hospital to visit a family member, he has run out of gas somewhere, is in the military and is stranded, or variations thereof. He quite often has a cellphone to his ear and quite often the encounters are at odd hours of the day or in bad weather – lending an air of authenticity to his stories. The guy has had years to perfect his craft and is quite obviously very good at it and evidently has raked in a lot of cash over time. Our Officer Cooper asks you not to let him in your car and to please call 911 immediately so he can be caught in the act sometime. Evidently he has never harmed anyone yet, and is only after your hard-earned cash – but do not take chances with him.

“Our Scammer”

The nicely dressed b/m that has appeared off and on again for a couple of years now at least – was on Maryland Avenue at 5:50 a.m. on 11/23 claiming his car was broken down on PDL Avenue and he had a daughter in Emory Hospital. This tale is very similar to his basic story line he has been using for years now. He is evidently not dangerous – but it always seems to cost kind-hearted souls a few bucks to get rid of him. Just beware!

Bogus Census Takers

I was sent a notice from friends in East Atlanta about a recent home invasion there. “On October 19th at 2:00 p.m., two black males knocked on a door at 752 Moreland Avenue and asked the resident to sign a census form. When the victim stated he was about to leave and didn’t have time, the suspects produced a gun and forced their way into the apartment. Both victims were forced to lie on the floor and had their property taken. One of the suspects fired one round at the victims, which struck the floor. Both suspects then left the area in a white, newer model Chevy Malibu, which was driven by an older black female. The suspects were described as two black males, one about 5’11″, 170 pounds, wearing a hat, blue jeans and a blue coat. The other was about 5’10″, wearing a white dress shirt and khaki pants.”

An interesting read on this situation is at No Victims http://novictims.wordpress.com/ This is timely given that we already have legitimate census takers on the street.

Scams

Evidently the magazine and book salesmen have moved on to greener pastures, since I have not heard any reports for some time now. But – wait, they will be back sometime. I would love to hear from anyone who paid money to them and actually got a subscription or books in return for your money. I won’t publish your names.

Remember the nicely dressed b/m who surfaces every once in a while who has a sad story about a family member in the hospital, his car is out of gas or broken down and needs a ride to somewhere, or yells and gestures at you if you ignore him? Well – he appeared a week or so on Monroe Drive early in the morning and one of our kind-hearted residents (who will remain anonymous) offered to give him a ride and then the story changed a few times and yes, it cost our resident a few bucks to get rid of him. Another life lesson learned – but no one was hurt.

Another scam has just surfaced again here – remember the guy who knocks on doors saying he just wants to rehearse a speech for school in front of you? Someone has brought this back too – a young w/m tried this at the Virginia Highland apartments on Virginia Avenue last week and ended up being escorted out of the complex by their in-house security and APD.

I have not heard about the “helpful” auto repairman in our area parking lots since last summer. But, I never heard that he got caught either – so am sure he is out there somewhere and will be back also.
Just stay alert and know who is on the other side of your front door before you open it.

Kenneth Lamb sightings

I continue to hear these reports from Cheshire Bridge Road and the I-85 exit ramps. As long as there are unwitting folks who will take pity on him and give him money – he will be in our midst. Continue to let MPSA at info@midtownponce.org know of your sightings. He quite obviously has found a good place to stay – cash and drugs are both available to him in the same area.

The “Car Repair” Scammer

This clever scammer is still on the loose – with yet another report posted on the vhmpa message board this week about how he “helped” another victim at the CVS parking lot on North Highland Avenue. Zone 5 really wants to catch this guy – but needs a 911 call while he is in action to nail him. He is a 50ish, slim, black male with a Jamaican accent.

The Auto Repair Scammer & The Roadside Flagger

The Roadside Flagger

This is another guy who seems to have recently surfaced again – this time being sighted on Briarcliff and Lenox Roads. This is a neatly dressed b/m who attempts to try to flag down cars as if he is having some sort of an emergency – but as we know from a year or so ago, this is a scam. If he succeeds in getting someone to stop he will have some story about needing money for gas, etc. If you don’t stop he screams, yells and waves his arms.

The Auto Repair Scammer

Thanx again to Rob Glancy for uncovering a scam that has apparently been going on for some time. See the story at http://www.cbsatlanta.com/video/19512247/index.html If you think you have been victimized by this guy – please e-mail Peggy Denby, the executive director of MPSA (Midtown Ponce Security Alliance) at peggy.denby@gmail.com with a report – she will pass it on to APD Zone 5 who really wants to catch this scammer.