Police: Beware shopping center parking lot scam artists

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department has been made aware of several young males, described as 16 to 22 years-old, well dressed and friendly approaching customers in the parking lots of the Fair Plain Shopping Plaza, TJMaxx, Target, and Kohl’s.

The young men say they are selling candy bars to raise money for the Benton Harbor Football Team and/or The Boys and Girls Club, according to Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly Laesch.

They will sometimes say they don’t have change or can’t make change and it looks better if they receive bigger donations, Laesch said.

Some victims thought the suspects’ behavior was suspicious and reported it to the Sheriff’s Department, which, in turn, contacted the Benton Harbor High School and The Boys and Girls Club.

Neither were doing any fundraising and both advised this is not the organizations practice or how they would raise money.

The sheriff’s department made contact with one individual who advised the scam artists come in groups from Indiana and have been coming to the area on and off for the last few months.

Residents are advised to stay alert and report any suspicious person or activity to store personal and/or police immediately.


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