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Police closing in on scam artist

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Salisbury Police are close to arresting a man for scamming people with a story about a family emergency and broken down car.
Chief Mark Wilhelm said they have identified the suspect and expect to make an arrest shortly.
Wilhelm said many victims have come forward after the Post published a warning about the scam in mid-November.
In the most recent episode, the suspect tried the scam the same man twice.
John Anthony Blackwell of Mocksville Avenue gave the man money on Nov. 18 when he told a tale of a broken down vehicle.
A couple of weeks later, the man spotted Blackwell riding on a golf cart near Henderson Street, came up and asked for money to fix a fuel pump ó again attaching a story about a family tragedy.
Blackwell didn’t give him any money, but did call police.
Also in mid-November the man scammed Jerry Henry Barger of Confederate Avenue, saying that his grandson had been in an accident in South Carolina and his car was broken down.
And the story changed slightly when the man called Frances Funderburk Taylor of Fulton Street and said two grandchildren had been critically injured in an accident in Columbia, S.C., and his car was broken down.
He didn’t get any money from Taylor.
Wilhelm said the man is known to police for previous incidents.
Police believe he gets names and phone numbers by checking neighborhoods and getting names on mailboxes.
Police ask anyone who has been contacted with a similar pitch to call Salisbury Police at 704-638-5333.

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