Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare.... A Safety Alert?

A reader writes: "I've been noticing a guy in the vicinity of Kenmore and Leland for the past 30 minutes. He approaches people with four quarters in his hand and asks them for a dollar bill in exchange. I've seen numerous people give him a dollar in exchange for four quarters so I doubt that is his real intent. People are opening up their wallets and purses to a complete stranger.

I would encourage your readers NOT to do this. I know it may be your instinct to be polite and help out a stranger but think twice before you flash cash in front of a stranger. When he approached me about exchanging quarters for a dollar, I mentioned that there were five banks and credit union within a five minute walk. He didn't like my suggestion and responded "Don't worry, I won't be here much longer." Yes, I called 911."


  1. I have noticed a similar man in at Broadway and Cullom. He's been gone most of the winter but I saw him a lot in the warmer weather. He would stand out there (usually with a duffel bag) and stop cars. Taxis would usually stop. I would see people hand him money.

    Totally perplexed as to what was going on!

    I used to think he was just asking the taxis for a ride but they would give him money and drive off. I never knew what to call and tell the police officers. After about 30 minutes, he would move on.

  2. I think I know who the person is - he's been around for a while. I think he's disturbed, but still I would highly recommend not engaging in any transaction with him. It might be a good idea to call 911. Of all of the mentally ill people who wander around during the day, they may be at risk when they run into traffic, trying to flag cars down for change.

    A question to anyone around the Argyle/Broadway area. There's a guy, clearly seeing things that aren't there, who has been spitting on cars, buildings, and knocking trash cans all over the place. Caucasian, probably in his mid forties, wild grey/silver hair. About 6 foot 3. A couple of mornings ago I saw him from a distance screaming and swinging at cars in the intersection. He's been called in to 911 a couple of times, but I am looking for more details. Thanks

  3. I think we are all talking about different people. The guy I saw today was not mentally disturbed. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was trying to bully unsuspecting individuals into opening up their purses and wallets. It was a robbery just waiting to happen.

    It was a classic con game that I hope I was able thwart or at least make people alert.

  4. Have mercy.....when my trajectory converges with such individuals, my tactic is to usually appear as nutty, or sinister as I can.

  5. I ran into a new street tactic today. I ugly young woman with rotten teeth came up to me sipping on a starbucks drink of some sort and started to cry that she was robbed and needed a dollar. I ignored her until she said give me a dollar or I will yell rape.

    This was near Broadway and Leland, on Racine. I told her to go ahead in this part of the neighborhood I did not think it would matter.

    The unfortunate part about this is that it is a dangerous thing this chick could have some unsuspecting people getting involved thinking that they were doing the right thing. Crazy. Somebody could get hurt and unfortunately it will not be the scam artist girl.

  6. This guy was back yesterday afternoon outside of the Lawrence El station. Very aggressive, following folks and badgering them for money. He took off towards Crew and Fat Cat when he realized people were calling 911.

  7. We used to watch these so called homeless people who beg for money on the public way. They would without fail abandon their little corner as soon as they collected enough money and go to their dope guy and get a bag. Every single one of them. Never had one of them let me down. But that's the reason we watched them. We figured they were dopers trying to get their next fix and we wanted to see where THEY would take us. And it was always to the supplier. Now before you jump all over me for being insensitive to the homeless, I'm not.

  8. I saw this guy the other day, and he was working with two other people. They were signalling each other. BE CAREFUL! Obviously the guy asking for quarters is just there to check out the person and see what's in the wallet or where it's kept. His accomplices are there for more nefarious purposes.

    Call 911 if you see these guys! They're definitely up to no good.