During the nice summer weather, we have seen people out claiming to solicit donations to support homeless programs. There is a gang of women operating mostly in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland who pray upon the goodwill of shoppers and restaurant patrons by asking for donations for homeless shelters or services. This is a scam, and none of the money goes to any of the shelters. Only the Salvation Army bell ringers with their familiar red kettle and the Street Chronicle newspaper vendors are out on the sidewalks asking for monetary support. The Chronicle vendors provide a newspaper to customers who then sell them on the streets for $1.25. The vendors have a badge issued by the Coalition for the Homeless, they follow a code of conduct and they always offer a newspaper to those who give them money.
We noticed a group of women at Walmart in Cleveland Hts and outside of Tommy’s in Coventry. We have tried to stop these women, but the police are hesitant to respond because the victims are typically only losing spare change or at most $5 each. The cumulative effect is that these women are stealing hundreds of dollars a day from homeless families and the charitable organizations who serve them. Please, if you see these women, call the police or ask the store manager to have them removed from the sidewalk or doorway. All of the charitable organizations in the County depend on the goodwill of donors to keep our doors open, and we hate to see individuals use our good name to underwrite a criminal enterprise. Be careful, but please continue to be generous to actual non-profit organizations.
We have seen these women arrested in a couple of suburbs, but we could not convince the prosecutor in Cleveland Hts. to follow up. They have stolen thousands of dollars over the last few years, and we get the largest number of complaints from Cleveland Hts. DON'T GIVE TO THESE BOGUS VENDORS!!!
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