Scam artist targets Southwest neighborhoods

There is an alleged scam artist hitting Grove City neighborhoods and the suspect is only a child.

Several residents from local neighborhoods claim that a 12 or 13-year-old girl has come to their front door asking for money. The child reportedly says she is a cheerleader with Finland Middle School and they are raising money for new uniforms. The girl apparently had no credentials or paperwork and had just asked for a flat donation, which made some citizens suspicious.

Sandy Nekoloff, executive director of communications with the South-Western City School District said over the past few weeks the district has received some calls about the issue.

"Finland Middle School is not collecting money in this manner," Nekoloff said.

She said the residents who called in had the same story, the girl was collecting money for cheerleading uniforms.

Nekoloff said she double checked with the principal at Finland Middle, who verified her report. She explained that a lot of fund raising is done through booster clubs but they always show some form of identification.

Captain Steven Robinette with the Grove City Division of Police said it is not common to have a child of this age running a scam but said people could be more likely to fall victim.

"There are a lot of good-hearted people out there who would want to help out," Robinette said, "especially if the child has on a school uniform or jacket."

He added, "This would be an easy case for residents to get bamboozled."

Robinette said people should ask for paperwork or a document that shows where the money is going.

"If it’s legit, they would not be afraid to give out that information," he noted.

Nekoloff said citizens should call their local police department or the district if they suspect a scam.

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