A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Apparent Scammer Going Door to Door


 I received the following email from a reader this morning:

I read your blog and thought you might be able to help. Today, a lady knocked on my door looking for donations for the daughter of Miriam (not 100% sure on the first name) Hill, who had been murdered leaving the H St NE Family Dollar on Thursday. I didn't see anything regarding this in the news, which I realize isn't that surprising, but I also didn't see it in any of the neighborhood blogs. The lady said she'd be around for the next few days and I would be happy to make a donation but I want to make sure it's not some kind of scam. Any news would be appreciated! Thanks!

The woman told the reader the victim had been shot  September 5th. This woman has been going around the larger neighborhood for weeks now. The first incident I know of occurred about 6pm Saturday 8/17. We discussed this on Twitter, but after reading the email above I wanted to post something here as well.

The story has evolved over time. It seems that a Mrs. Hill has been mentioned more than once. Sometimes it is Mrs. Hill (an older woman) who has died tragically after having worked for "many years" at the Family Dollar on H Street (just as a side note, it hasn't actually been there for a super long time). As you can read above, the deceased party is now her daughter. The note above says the daughter died on Thursday, but another reader says the woman stopped by his place in the middle of last week saying the murder was "yesterday."

Sometimes the woman claims to be associated with a church (needs money for services for the dead woman), but seems confused about the church's name. Other times she claims no church affiliation, but says she is collecting on behalf of the community. She may, or may not, show you a picture of the "victim." Here are some descriptions of the woman:

short, appox 5' blk female, had a bucket with the picture said she was collecting for the community, no church affil
 Middle-aged (prob 40s, 5 foot, overweight, African American, casual/workout clothes).
She is an African American women, probably in her forties. She is around 5' to 5' 3". She had her hair braided and pulled back into a ponytail. She wasn't wearing glasses or any makeup. When she came to my door she was wearing all black and carrying an old coffee can or tin can with a picture of a women on it. She also had a backpack.

It sounds like she's targeting a pretty wide area (both north and south of H Street, and spread far east to west) , so keep a look out for her. Call the cops if she tries this mess on you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This lady definitely came to our house about 3-4 weeks ago. (We live on the 400 block of K St. NE.) I had gotten a weird vibe from her, so fortunately I decided not to contribute money. At the time, she was using the story about collecting funds to help pay for funeral arrangements for an elderly woman who had lived in the neighborhood for several decades.

Sep 9, 2013, 1:19:00 PM

Blogger Tom A. said...

Horrible, but just another lie `to get money from you. It's not really much worse thank asking for money for "something to eat" when we all know there are many places where people can get free food in DC.(DC Central Kitchen, SOME, Miriam's Kitchen, etc)

Sep 9, 2013, 1:34:00 PM

Anonymous npm said...

She hit the east end of F St NE about 2 weeks ago. I called the police and they said they'd keep an eye out.

Sep 9, 2013, 1:59:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She came to our house on the 1300 block of Florida NE yesterday. Politely told her no. Not as bad as the woman who sends her two kids to the door with fake school fundraising materials.

Sep 9, 2013, 2:27:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

Tom A.,
Some of those people might actually be buying food (or coffee, or booze, or maybe even a cheap place to stay). They are at least up front about the fact that the money is going into their own pocket.

This woman is fraudulently obtaining funds she claims will benefit another, but keeping them for herself. I'd say that's a far worse offense.

Sep 9, 2013, 2:45:00 PM

Anonymous freddy said...

I stopped giving money to strangers several years ago. I used to feel guilty or thought I was being nice by doing it until someone who works with homeless people told me that giving them money causes more harm than good.

Somewhat related is the fact that very few people die from a lack of food in the USA

Sep 9, 2013, 4:34:00 PM

Anonymous 7th Street said...

This woman came by my house a few months ago (1000 block of 7th St NE). She claimed she was raising funds for a woman whose daughter had died in a fire in the neighborhood.

Additionally, I had another woman come by my door with two kids in tow, claiming to be raising funds for JO Wilson Elementary. They were selling cookies or some baked goods, but didn't have them on them. Said she would be back later to deliver the items. This was last Spring. The sheet of paper she had to take orders looked as if it had been left outside during a rainstorm. I didn't purchase anything.

I don't give money to anyone who knocks on my door -- I don't care if it's your "youth team for at-risk youth," a church, or whatever -- there are too many scams.

Sep 9, 2013, 6:50:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This same woman came to my house yesterday - 1200 block of I Street NE. I definitely thought it all sounded fishy and searched the news and checked neighborhood blogs today to try to find something that legitimized her story. As I suspected, seems like she's a fraud!

Sep 9, 2013, 9:38:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty much common sense to never give money to anybody coming to your door. The exception might be an obviously legit school fundraiser with the glossy catalog in which you get some christmas cookies or something, but I've never seen that. Just a faded photocopy and some weak explanation... no thanks.

Sep 10, 2013, 11:43:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ummm....yeah, it's common sense to not give money to someone who randomly knocks on your door. Is this even a crime? Do the police laugh at you when you call?

Sep 10, 2013, 12:33:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

It is absolutely a crime. It's fraud. In DC you can be fined for it, and/or go to jail. The DC Code: § 22-3221.

Sep 10, 2013, 12:47:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a major crime. I called to check on the status of my case, and the officer told me he'd check with the the crime lab, and that they've got four more detectives working on the case. They've even had them working in shifts!

Sep 10, 2013, 1:02:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So basically you're calling the police on an individual who is probably borderline homeless if not homeless to complain about them asking for money. Yes, I'm sure that the fine issued for this crime is really going to stop them from doing it again.....

Sep 10, 2013, 1:07:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

DCPD has four detectives working on this!?!? Chasing a woman around the neighborhood who is collecting money in a can?

Waste of tax payer dollars. They should be out there tracking down that backpack and sneakers that were stolen out of that car a few weeks back.


Sep 10, 2013, 1:12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anon 1:12-

Girl, OH *SNAP*!

Sep 10, 2013, 1:15:00 PM

Blogger heyktb said...

I don't open the door these days for strangers. too many evangelicals...

Sep 10, 2013, 5:22:00 PM

Anonymous Ivar the Terrible said...

this woman stopped by my house yesterday 700 13th street and i told her that I was deaf and closed the door. I do remember seeing her holding a "coffee Cab" with picture on it.

Sep 11, 2013, 8:51:00 AM

Blogger Tom A. said...

iinked, you're right. I stand corrected. but asking money to get something to eat when you actually will use it to buy booze, is also fraud. :-)

Sep 11, 2013, 11:44:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She stopped by our place (near 10th & H NE) a couple of weeks ago. I was a little suspicious since I hadn't heard about a woman being killed (she said 2 guys had been messing around in front of Murray's and that an elderly woman was caught in the cross-hairs and that they were collecting to pay for the funeral since the daughter was a friend of hers at Howard) but we'd been out of town so we weren't sure if we'd missed something in the news. My FIL gave her $20 and I felt pretty stupid later when I googled it.

Sep 11, 2013, 12:04:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calling the police because she is in your property seems like a legitimate complaint. Calling the police because a woman is collecting money in a can to buy booze is not reasonable.....in this case fool you once, shame on you!

Sep 11, 2013, 2:15:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

She was on the 200 block of K Street NE a few weeks ago.

Sep 12, 2013, 11:41:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A woman fitting this description was back on 10th St NE near the intersection with Girard this past Friday. Similar story. She claimed to be doing community service for Howard University. She also claimed to be with the Dept of Health and Human Services. She flashed an ID badge in my face for a brief moment, but I did not get a clear look at it.

Nov 18, 2013, 7:42:00 PM


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