ABC 6 - Search Results
Police Following Paper Trail of Accused Con Artist
WESTERVILLE (James Jackson) -- Columbus police are following the paper trail of an accused thief who is preying on local businesses by falsely claiming to collect money for veterans.
Wayne's Auto Repair on Westerville Road serves 12 to 15 customers every day.
But now, the business's employees are paying extra attention to who comes in, after police say Joseph Steward pulled a fast one on them.
Store manager Kris Foit says Steward got away with $50 after soliciting funds for the Wounded Warriors program.
"It kind of makes you gun shy a little bit. It makes you kind of sit back and think he got hold of all the right documentation. Same type of documentation that legit places have got," Foit said.
Foit says he did it not once, but twice in the past two months, and even brought another guy with him and gave out receipts to close the deal.
"I went and asked the technicians outside if they wanted to do anything out of pocket, and they did, and he had all the information. It looked completely legit," Foit said.
Steward allegedly pulled the same scam next door at Buckeye Nissan. Investigators now say they're two of more than 300 businesses he's targeted.
Wayne's employees say they've learned a valuable lesson, and promise it they will not fall victim to the scam a third time.
"If he comes in here again, he's not going to get out. We know what he looks like, and we're definitely looking out for him," Foit said.
Investigators say there are arrest warrants out for Steward for impersonating a police officer and identity fraud. Columbus police would like to hear from you, at (614) 645-4545, if you see him.