Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis The Season For Scammers

A cautionary tale from a reader:
"Last night I was at the Walgreens on Wilson & Clark and there was a group of four people in front of the door standing around the Salvation Army stand that the collection kettle hangs from. Obviously they were not part of the S.A. as there was no kettle, it was obviously too late, one of the four persons clearly looked like a gangbanger, one had a long beard and a yellow hazard vest and was talking on his cell phone, one (sad to say) looked like a runaway teenage girl who stood hiding her face against the wall of the building (reminding me of the movie Grandma's Boy) with luggage bags next to her, and one was the mouth of the operation who tried to sweet talk the customers into giving them money. They were aggressively panhandling people and by their proximity to the Salvation Army stand were trying to make it look and sound like that's who they were collecting for.

I sat in my car long enough to see one of the customers turn around after walking past the group to return to them and give them money. I think it was more than $1 and it looked like she may have been acting out of her charitable nature and believed she was giving to the S.A. The smooth talker took the money, put it in his pocket, and just kind of laughed at the woman, leaving her with a bewildered look on her face as the smooth talker and gangbanger walked off leaving the guy with the long beard and the girl hiding her face against the wall.

Whether or not a person decides to give money to a panhandler on the streets is their choice and their business, but to watch an obvious scam take place that takes advantage of the Salvation Army is disgusting and seeing a woman's disappointment when she realized they were not part of a genuine charity is even worse.

Beware of this type of scam! I have no affiliations with the S.A., but should you choose to make a donation in person use common sense and make sure they are really who they say they are. Make sure they have a bell! Also the S.A. accepts donations on their web page:

Thanks and Happy Holidays!"


  1. Maybe someone can confirm me on this, but panhandling in front of that Walgreens is illegal... because they have an ATM inside!

  2. isn't panhandling anywhere illegal?

  3. My understanding of panhandling is that it is illegal on private property. It's not against the law to ask someone on public property for money but if you walk after the person, touch the person, or make any physical or verbal threats in the process that is illegal.

  4. This Walgreen's always seems to have a panhandler in front of it. I've never had problems with them, but more often than not, they're there.

  5. Please don't donate to the Salvation Army, whether real or fake. They are anti-gay. There are other groups that feed the hungry without passing judgment on things that have nothing to do with poverty.

  6. I didn't know this about the S.A. until I had a distant relative pass away and I attended her funeral, but the Salvation Army is an Evangelical Christian church. That's right, it's a religion. So it's not surprising that they are anti-gay. And if you want to consider things even further, any business who lets the Salvation Army ring-a-ling for donations is supporting an anti-gay religion.

  7. Ok, so you saw a shake-down taking place. Did you call 911? Did you make one additional call to Shiller, knowing you won't get a response but just to harass her? If you don't make the call, you're jsut as guilty. Now I'm off to make calls about the latest Wilson/Broadway shooting.

  8. How about the lady who asked me for my quarter when I returned my shopping cart at Aldi last Sunday...

    It's always SOMETHING! The best thing to do is not give to any of these bums, and it'll eventually get old. Unfortunately, that's going to be the toughest part.

  9. I found and read the Chicago Municipal Code 8-4-025 Aggressive panhandling. It's an interesting read. Do a quicksearch for panhandling near the top and you will find the ordinance. Also make sure to scroll up and down a bit and read...
    8-4-015 Gang loitering.
    8-4-017 Narcotics-related loitering
    8-4-030 Drinking in public ways.

    and if you like candy and marijuana...

    8-4-018 Marijuana flavored candy.$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il

  10. I think I saw these guys. Didn't surprise me in the least bit to see them there, as I think every time I've gone in this Walgreens there have been panhandlers outside.

    Does the management just not care?