I received an email from a friend of mine in Menomonee Falls about a scam that is being run there, but with the notice that the same group was "arrested" in Whitefish Bay.
.. two teens were "collecting money" for a Children's Hospital fund raiser. They were asking for money to buy books for children that were too sick to go home for Christmas. The cost of each set of books was $55. They "posed" as the children of a neighborhood woman who was a nurse at Children's. They also said that their dad was a cop and they all lived in the neighborhood. They name dropped many of the people on our street and concocted a story that most of my neighbors had donated. They even showed me a few of the checks. In spite of their familiar "pitch" something just didn't feel right and I turned them away. (My Neighbor) felt it was probably a scam and contacted the police. She was right .. and the girls were arrested.
Now the bad news. Apparently these girls were arrested the day before in Whitefish Bay. They are dropped off with a dozen other teens out of a van and they "work" the neighborhoods. Most likely they are not even Wisconsin residents. Since their crime is a misdemeanor, they are free to continue deceiving people AND they keep the money they have collected! If you were one of the generous people that fell victim to this ploy, CANCEL YOUR CHECK IMMEDIATELY!
So .. mental note .. there's a somewhat sophisticated scam going on, with kids prepped with names of your neighbors, etc, to bilk you out of money.
- As always, ask every solicitor for their permit. As I wrote before, besides RESIDENT children (example: Girl Scouts) everyone selling something, or asking for money NEEDS A PERMIT. Don't be fooled by some kid from Milwaukee who says because he's under 18, he doesn't need a permit. That's untrue. RESIDENT children do not need permits. All others do.
- Hello, Whitefish Bay police? I hope they are reading today. Chief Jacobs called me over a month ago, asking my ideas on how to communicate with WFB residents. I offered many suggestions, from updating the WFB village website with news, starting a crime email bulletin, to writing a guest blog here, to opening their own blog (as Greenfield has done) .. including .. just send me information, I'll post it right here.
This scam story is a PERFECT example of the need for timely crime news. How did I find out about this? Not through the WFB police. Not through the media. I found out because someone in MENOMONEE FALLS, who gets CRIME BULLETIN EMAILS from their police department sent it to a friend who forwarded it on.
That's just not the way it's supposed to happen, guys.
Let's not let another month slip by without doing something. Our village website HAS the capability to manage email lists, as you can sign up to have meeting agendas emailed to you the moment they are posted. The infrastructure is there already. You've just got to use the technology the residents of Whitefish Bay have already bought for you to use.
Traffic was down a bit yesterday. Last year, I counted 600 pieces of candy .. this year, I bought 600, had about 100 remaining, so maybe 500 kids stopped by.
I had a number of people tell me they'd read the blog from last year, about my desire to bring Halloween back to its traditional day, October 31st, when the rest of the United States find the time to celebrate it safely. A few asked me why I didn't launch another campaign this year.
My answer is this .. Last year, I did collect 80 email addresses of people who signed up with GHOST-PAC (Getting Halloween on Spooky Thirtyfirst Political Action Committee.) My original plan was to rally the masses, have them contact the Trustees, get this thing changed.
But over the past year, as I've attended a few Trustee meetings and gathered a better understanding of how things work in the Bay .. I realized there's no way in freaking hell that would have worked. The Trustees would have gotten a bunch of emails, asking for the change, and they would have hemmed and hawed about how afraid they'd be if anyone complained about removing it from the anti-traditional Sunday date.
The Trustees would have worried about the noisy residents who would have told them tales of woe, how they're at work until late, how the boogy-man preys on young children only after sunset, the existence of WFB vampires, how their kid is allergic to darkness and how this would be unfair because it's not the same.
The Trustees would have created a Halloween Investigation Board (HIB), staffed with Trustees, police department representatives, Health department representatives, and a few citizens, carefully balanced between pro-tradition folk and anti-tradtionalists. The end goal of HIB would be to craft an advisory voter referendum on Halloween to be on the ballot by 2012, that would need to be ratified by 2/3rds majority of the Trustees, plus the approval of the Wisconsin legislature and Governor.
But what the heck, my angry mob: Let's try this next year. Halloween will be on a Saturday in 2009, Sunday on 2010. Contact the Trustees and tell them for the next two years, let's rejoin the rest of the United States, and Trick or Treat on the traditional date and time, October 31st, when it gets dark .. just like those unsafe hell-raisers in Waukesha, Brookfield, Big Bend, Cedarburg, Racine, Sheboygan, Waterford, Elm Grove, Dousman, and Menomonee Falls, not to mention .. Cleveland, St. Paul, Des Moines, Boston, Phoenix .. Chicago, Detroit, Bismark .. well, you get the idea .. everyone else.
(You may notice I don't have links to some of those cities' ToT time listings. Why? Because Trick or Treating isn't scheduled. It's like Christmas. It happens when it happens, on October 31st.)
Make sure you read:
- One less bad guy on WFB's streets!
- Solicitors DO NEED PERMITS
- WFB Picks New Trustee
- Grim Silver Spring Prediction .. a Local Merchant's thoughts..
- Bits & Pieces (New Engineer, Leaf Collection, Crime .. Fire)
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