Community Post

Towing/locksmith/sugar scammer connected to burglaries?

Our CDNews commenters have had several long discussions about the infamous “cup of sugar” scammer. His MO is to knock late at night, say he’s a neighbor from up the street, is a harmless gay man whose partner works at Microsoft, and ask if he can have a few bucks to pay a locksmith, tow-truck driver, etc.

Now we’ve come across a police report on a recent burglary that appears to make a connection between that scammer and at least two burglaries. Here’s the highly circumstantial evidence:

  • Between 9pm and 10pm a man knocked on a door at 23rd & Alder, said he was gay, and asked for money to call a locksmith. A female resident gave him some cash and he left. 
  • At a few minutes after midnight that house suffered a burglary while the residents were asleep, where unknown men kicked in the front door and stole a laptop that had been sitting near the front door
  • A K9 unit tracked the suspects north and east to the area around 34th & Marion
  • Also just after midnight, a woman at 34th & Marion reported a suspicious man to 911 who had knocked on her door and asked to come in, saying he was a neighbor.
  • One responding officer referenced a similar case from January of this year, where the locksmith scammer contacted several houses in the 150 block of 16th, and then later that night one of the home’s front doors was kicked in and the interior burglarized.

Police said they attempted to contact a possible suspect in the 300 block of 22nd Avenue, but “his mother said that he was not home.”

The larger MO would appear to be for the scammer to make a few bucks on the scam itself, and use each opportunity to scout out the interior of the houses he contacts. If anything valuable and easily steal-able is seen, he gives that information to one or more others who come back later and do the smash-and-grab.

0 thoughts on “Towing/locksmith/sugar scammer connected to burglaries?

  1. “A female resident gave him some cash and he left.”

    Why do people give cash to these sketchy strangers? Don’t do it!

  2. If we see people on our block that are hanging out, or trying to ask for money we do not open the door but we speak loudly that we do not want to be disturbed at anytime. When we see people hanging out, we will take photos with our cellphone or camera and some of the people get really upset and leave..but they never return!

  3. That guy came to our door two months ago, about a week after we’d moved into our new home near 22nd and Fir. Luckily I had read about him on CDNews and I closed the door on him during his second or third sentence.

    Several weeks later a different person came to the door after midnight and rang the doorbell repeatedly, ostensibly to see if anyone was home. I looked out the window and he left.

    I don’t know if the two were related. Since then we’ve added motion lights and other deterrents and haven’t had anymore visitors.

    In hindsight, I should have called 911 both times, if for no other reason than to give the police statistical info for these occurrences.

  4. Ya’ll really shouldn’t open your door at all. Shar above has the right idea. Tell them thru the door to go away.

    Push-in home invasions can happen extremely quickly. Also, when your door is open they can see past you and take note of security features and things to steal, as well as knowing if you’re a woman, or elderly, or if you have kids etc.

    Be careful!

  5. This clown has come to my house (near 20th & King) twice, giving me a story about how he lives nearby and got locked out and needs money to pay a locksmith.

    The first time he told me this weird story about how he’s my neighbor and he’s gay and got locked out and need a few bucks for a locksmith. I got suspisous because I don’t know why being gay had anything to do with being locked out. So I just told him I didn’t have any money. He got angry with me and told me I wasn’t acting like a nice neighbor and all this stuff and then left.

    The second time he started telling me his ‘I got locked out story’, but this time said he lives next door. Uh…I know the people who live next door dummy. So I told him he was full of BS and to get the F*** off my property or I’m calling the cops. He took off real quick.

    Haven’t seen him since. This was almost a year ago.

  6. next time, tell this guy to hold on 1 minute, and you’ll get him some money, then call the police.

  7. Egads….what is up with our neighborhoods just letting that loser cause so much trouble? Why am I surrounded by so many simpering whiny ninnies?

    Would someone please just whack that mole!

  8. …or at least that’s what he calls himself. He approached me when I first moved here 15 years ago, telling me he worked at St. Therese and had locked himself out of his car and needed just $5, etc. I gave it to him, good neighbor that I am. A couple of days later, I called St. Therese and was told, of course, that no “Patrick” worked there. Fool me once.

    Then, two years later, he approached me again, outside my house on a Sunday morning. When I challenged him on his story (another locked-out-of-car tale), he produced all sorts of evidence claiming legitimacy, including his name written on a scrap of paper. He didn’t seem to realize that he’d tried this on me before and that I was on to him. When I refused to help him, he pulled out all the stops: “Please, sir, all I need is $5. Please, sir, I’m an HIV-positive black man.”

    Well, that made me angry. What does your race and your health status have to do with locking your keys in your car? So, ever since then, I call the police when he comes around (about every 2-3 years.) Once he claimed to work at “McClouds just down the street.” And just the other night, he claimed to be my neighbor Patrick that lives across the street. No, Patrick, no. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  9. Agreed. It’s best to keep the door closed when in doubt about who’s knocking.

    This particular guy is very slight, and not very threatening, which is probably why his cons work sometimes. You’d think that if he’s been at it for so long the police would know him by name. He must be pretty canny to not get caught. Or to not have had someone “whack the mole” as Miss Fluffy put it.

  10. Whacking the mole is not a good plan. Call the Po-po and report it.

    Violence isn’t the answer. You might get sued (or hurt), and when he wins, we’ll all be hit with an onslaught of these A-holes looking for a big payday.

    Let the Police handle it.

  11. I’ve lived on 21st & Cherry for 10 years and this same guy used to come around with boring regularity every six months or so. First he needed sugar, then he was the nephew of my neighbor and locked out of his car, next he was delivering food for Chicken Soup Brigade and was locked out of his car, next he needed money for his HIV meds, and finally he said he actually was my neighbor and was locked out of his car…
    The last time he knocked was four years ago: we’d just adopted a large dog and she barked at him when we opened the door, he took off super-fast and we haven’t been bothered by his BS since. I have to say I always found it really creepy that he seemed to have no recall of his previous attempts to get money out of us. I guess desperation will do that…

  12. I did – stupidly. I was new to the area and not really savvy with how the game was played. Farm girl in the big city. He pulled the “hi I’m gay and need to pay a locksmith” routine. No one ever bashed in my door so i guess my stuff wasnt worth stealing.

    He hit us again later, except he got my husband and not me. New neighbor, locked out, needed to pay lock smith. I learned after my one experience – my husband is just gullible ;)

  13. I find it ironic that when I posted on this site about “Patrick” pulling the same scam on me, or trying to, the responses were “Just because he’s a black man that doesn’t mean you should call the police!” Ridiculous. Having grown up in the CD, this is an old, old scam. Patrick claims to be a new neighbor (on a block where we haven’t had new neighbors in many years) and knocks at a ridiculous hour. When I told him to take a hike in no uncertain terms, he did. I’m glad I called 911, and glad I suffered through the pissy 911 operator acting like I was being alarmist, until I told her about the M.O. and recent burglaries after just such “Patrick” visits. Keep your door closed, call the police, and photograph this puke if you can.

  14. He came to my door soon after I moved in to 18th and Pike. I didn’t know any neighbors yet and was tempted to help out but remembered that the bigger the story the bigger the scammer and told him I didn’t have any. I should have just told him to leave and not ever come back again.

    Another guy came that same week and spoke with my wife. I walked up to him and introduced myself and asked who he was and why he was there. This was enough to make him leave quickly.

    So anyone new to the neighborhood should be especially observant.

  15. my wife just reminded my this guy came to our door when i was not home and used the scam, I am Patrick a janitor at mlk school and locked my keys inside building and need money to call locksmith, he also worked in that he is gay and a neighbor..she said he was really wanting her to open the door but she would not.

  16. He still introduced himself as “Patrick.” He’s older looking than I thought from the descriptions here – he has gray streaks in his beard and is quite thin. Tried to claim he was a new neighbor and started into his little spiel about getting locked out. He then tried to ask directions to some intersection. I mostly stonewalled him despite this bit just nagging me in the back of my head.

    If he comes back I’ll be sure to grab a photo now that I know what he looks like.

  17. Door bell rang around 9:15 or so. Our porch light was off so I turned it on then talking to him through the little window in the door. Said he was a neighbor and then asked for directions to Lincoln Towing. My wife came upstairs and said a post was on CD News. I now remember him from a few years back when he used the gay story.

  18. I wonder if putting up fliers around the neighborhood would help deter this guy? At least everyone would be informed and maybe the guy would know we’re on to him. Thoughts?

  19. About a year ago – twice in two weeks people knocked on my door to ask me if I had any information about the apartments across the street from us. I told them I didn’t, but felt pretty weird. Why the hell would I know anything about the apartments? Possibly a twist on the scam? No one has tried to bust in, but maybe they didn’t see anything to steal.

  20. We had Patrick come to our door last night. He claimed the same ol’ story. I politely asked him if he would like me to phone the police to help him get into his home.

  21. Was visited by Patrick last night around 10:00pm. Same story, hadn’t read about him on this blog yet. Next time I’ll be better prepared… and won’t be answering the door like I did last night.