DANVILLE – A Boys and Girls Club of Danville official is warning the public about a scam involving the organization.
Executive Director Rickey Williams Jr. said he went to Wal-Mart at 4101 N. Vermilion St., Danville, on Saturday afternoon. When he walked into the entryway, he overheard a man telling two women that he was raising funds for the organization.
Williams asked the man what he was doing.
"He said, 'Excuse me, sir. Would you like to buy some candy to help the Boys and Girls Club?'" Williams recalled.
He added the man was selling boxed chocolates for $6 apiece, and he had no clothing, nametag or literature from the club to identify him.
Later when Williams questioned a second man, also claiming to be raising money for the agency, the man admitted it was a scam.
The agency is raising $150,000 for its One campaign, Williams said. He said the effort to raise money for operational and program costs began last summer and will end by July.
"We're not selling anything," Williams said, adding the agency already has raised $112,000 in donations. "We've just been asking for donations."
Williams added the agency will partner with Elder Beerman-Bon-Ton to raise money through the department store's Care to Share program. On March 3, agency volunteers will sell coupon booklets.
"If we sell 50, we get part of the proceeds," he said.
But the organization is not selling candy, Williams cautioned.
When Williams told the first man he was the local club's executive director, he said the man, who appeared to be in his 20s, looked nervous, then stammered he was raising money for the Indianapolis club. Williams said the man then handed him a brochure.
"It said LCA," the director recalled, adding he'd never heard of that organization. "I said, 'I know people in Indianapolis. If I called them, would they tell me they're doing this? ... He said, 'Well, I can stop saying "Boys and Girls Club," if you want me to.'"
Williams said he went inside Wal-Mart to talk to the manager. When they returned to the entryway to talk to the man, he was gone.
Williams went out into the parking lot to try to find the man. When he went to the other door, he discovered the second man, who also appeared to be in his 20s, selling the candy.
Williams said he called police. When they arrived, they talked to the man.
"He admitted they were from Indianapolis, and that they were running a scam,"Williams said. "He said someone brought them over and was supposed to pick them up at 5 p.m. He said they would get a percentage of whatever they sold."
Williams believes that the men or people pulling a similar scam were at Big Lots in Danville about two months ago.
"Someone from my church called me," he said, adding that person asked about the club's candy fundraiser.