Scam Alert – Anyone Else Encounter this Guy?

Photo by PoPville flickr user bloomds

“Dear PoPville,

Last weekend there was a man walking around Columbia Heights asking for money so he could get to the hospital. He first asked me while I was on a bike at 13th x Park, then he asked me a second time 20 minutes later or so while I was walking around Tivoli Square. He was actually stopping cars and asking as well. I am not positive, but I believe I have seen this guy before several months ago doing the same around the Columbia Heights metro. I figured it was a scam so I didn’t give him anything. Did anyone else encounter this?”

80 Comment

  • Yup — at Thomas Circle maybe 10 days ago. Having an agitated “conversation” on the phone. Claimed he needed to get to Sibley Hospital because his daughter had been in a car wreck.

    • This guy was in Columbia Heights doing the same thing with two dogs. He went into the store on 13th and Park after several people gave him money.

    • He tried the same thing to me around Thomas circle. Exact same story about his daughter at Sibley.

      Next time this happens, I’m going to feign concern and find a police officer who can drive him to the Hospital. I wonder if he’d keep up the charade long after than.

    • Same thing a couple of weeks ago around 11th and Park. Yelling on the phone about a breached birth of his daughter asking me for for cab fare to Sibley, and then doing the same thing as I passed him going the other way about 20 minutes later (same exact phone conversation and all).

    • Yes! This guy is often around the U Street metro as well. He sees someone walking in his direction and fakes a traumatic phone conversation about his daughter either being in an accident or having a baby. He did this with me a few months ago and I asked him if anyone is ever dumb enough to believe him. He just put his phone in his pocket and walked away.

  • Geeez. give him some money so he can get to the hospital. heathens, all of you!

  • Ambulances are free! (unless you have insurance then you pay!)

  • I encountered this guy on Monday at the corner of Vermont and U Street NW (right next to the eastern exit of U Street Metro). He was pretending to talk to someone on a burner phone and then approach me and my friend. He said he needed to get to Sibley Hospital and asked to borrow money. We told him no, he asked a few more times, and we walked away. He then approached another person who was walking in the crosswalk.
    He was an early 40s, Af-Am male, stubble/goatee, short hair. He was dressed normally in a t-shirt, jeans, and athletic shoes; he didn’t look homeless, he was clean, and pretty much as “normal” as one could be.

  • I encountered him near 2d and Rhode Island NW. He first said he needed to get to Howard University Hospital. I said he could walk. Then, he said he needed to get to Georgetown University Hospital. Same story — daughter in a car wreck.

  • That guy was in Petworth a few weeks ago (or someone with the exact same story). Probably the third time I’ve encountered someone in the city who urgently needed to get to the hospital and was just a couple bucks short in the past few years.

  • Yup, I’ve seen him twice outside the U St metro entrance at 10th St. First time was pregnant daughter at Sibley Hospital. Second time was something about the daughter at Sibley Hospital, and I called him out on it, and he said oh my bad, it’s Providence Hospital.

    Lol. Get a life (read: job)

  • I assume it’s the same guy – he came up to my car as I pulled up to stop sign at Florida and 2nd St a few months ago. He must have seen the carseat in my car, ’cause he went with “my daughter just had a kid at Sibley.”

    • yup — tried to get me twice in Col Heights because his “daughter in labor at providence hospital.” Called him out the second time — “you must have a lot of pregnant daughters”

  • I’ve seen him near 14th & p nw some months ago. Same deal going to sibley for his daughter’s crash.

  • Oh yeah. This guy. Always has to go to Sibley. He pretends to be on the phone with someone about the supposed “emergency,” then stops mid-conversation to ask for help getting there. The second time he approached me outside of my house and I reminded him about the same emergency he had two weeks before… He kept walking.

  • Yes, I recently encountered the guy who needs to get to Sibley for his daughter by the CVS near the Petworth Metro. He sure does travel all over town for someone who needs to get to Sibley! Maybe someone should just give the guy directions 😉

  • How old is the person posing this question? Your experience is what is called “a scam.” They happen frequently in Washington. Just say “No.” (My favorite was the woman who used to say her car was dead and she needed money for a gallon of gas).

  • Heard the daughter having a baby at Sibley story in/around 2nd and RI Ave not too long ago. That’s a long labor 😉

  • tell him to take the D6 bus!

  • someone should find him and have a friend pull up in a car and take him to whatever hospital he needs to go too.

  • Yes on 10th and Vermont and 11th and U twice on back to back days about a year ago in the rain. A VERY long labor indeed.

  • Admit it, though… he’s a hard-working scammer, and has real dedication to his craft. When he approached me EIGHT YEARS ago, he was wearing a Safeway apron. His boss had let him leave work early because of the emergency (I got the daughter in a diabetic crisis version), but he just needed the $20 to actually get to her.

  • He’s stopped me 3 times. Once in the winter of 2013 near Logan Circle, twice on back to back days along U street this Spring. All 3 times his daughter was having a breach baby and he needed cab fare. Eventually called him on it and he frustratedly just asked if I had a dollar to spare instead.

  • Yes. Once on 7th near K Street a couple of months ago. Then on Georgia Avenue in Petworth last week. He was saying that his daughter was hit by a car and he had to get to Sibley Hospital right away and the bust would take too long. Gave him a couple of bucks the first time (he was convincing!). The second time I declined.

  • Is this also the guy who “just had an epileptic fit” and needs money for a drink to raise his blood sugar?

    • I don’t think so. This guy doesn’t do small change… he wants $20-30 to take a cab from downtown out to the hinterlands of DC where Sibley is located.

  • While the stories are interesting, does anyone have a suggestion for dealing with him other than telling him “no”? For example, call the police? Would they do anything?

    • Do not call the police. He asked you a question, so say no and move on. There are lots of people who do this and have for a long time.

      • If panhandling is a crime then definitely call the police.

      • This guy, assuming we’re all talking about the same one, is particularly aggressive. It’s not the typical panhandling scenario. He really gets in your face and tries to intimidate.

        • Yes – he is aggressive. We’ve run into him a few times and recently he tried to weasel his way into my neighbor’s house (Single Female). It was pretty scary, actually.

    • Actually, what he is doing IS illegal according to DC code, “thefts by trick or deception” Call the police. The police want to catch these con men. Don’t you think it’s better that he gets arrested or warned from the police so they recognize him rather than him conning someone who falls for it, like an elderly person?
      When this guy approached me at 10th and U (for the 3rd time), I said, “Oh my god! Let me call the police for you!” No joke, he ran away.

      • PoP, please make sure your readers are aware that it is illegal to pull scams like this and that we should be vigilant. I called metro police on a guy in the Chinatown metro a few months ago who was walking up to tourists pulling the “2 10s for a 20” scam. MTP responded quickly and arrested the guy. They thanked me for calling them.

      • You sound better suited for Vienna

        • Come on. Trying to stop swindlers from running their scams freely in our midst is some kind of “suburban” behavior?

      • That’s perfect! I’m going to remember the “let me call the police for you” line, haha.

    • Yes. It’s against the law to deceive people into giving you money by lying them. Yes.

  • Guy stopped me in Columbia Heights- said he needed to get to Providence Hospital because his daughter was burned. I hope I see him again. I’ll definitely ask how she’s doing. She seems to be real accident prone, that one.

  • This happened to me as well several weeks ago on 11th St NW just north of U St. I was stopped at a stop sign. He was on his phone and was wearing a FedEx uniform. He said he was trying to get to Sibley to see his daughter and had no cash on him.

  • I’ve encountered him on two separate occasions within the past year. The first time was at 11th and Vermont, the second, most recently, was at 14th and Chapin. He was wearing an orange construction vest. The first time he said he had to get to Sibley because his daughter was in labor, then second he had to get to Sibley because his daughter was in a wreck.

  • Same here — near O and 12th about a month ago. Guy gets around! He was very insistent and seemed to really upset a couple ladies near me who had to very forcefully say no to him.

  • is this illegal? and if so, should the police be called?

    • It does not sound like this gentleman is committing a crime.

      It’s legal unless it is aggressive or within ten feet of an atm, at or on metro bus stops, buses and trains. Aggressive would be defined as blocking a person, touching a person, making a reasonable person fear harm or continuously soliciting/following after being told “no.” If someone gives money because he or she is afraid that could be considered a robbery (fear). In these circumstances it is appropriate to call the police.

    • Theft by deception. Call the police.

      • Theft by deception is when someone dressed as Brasserie Beck’s valet drives your car off forever. That somebody took your freely given $ for X and then does Y isn’t TBD.

      • It’s not theft by deception unless somebody actually gives him money. Even to get arrested, police would have to prove the money was used for something else.

  • I don’t know if it is the same guy, but I encountered this at 11th & Rhode Island some time last week, and a few months ago at 11th and P. I think it was the same guy both incidents, but I’m not sure. He definitely used Sibley hospital, and was on the phone pretending to be agitated.

  • This guy was around 11th between T and U for a week almost at the beginning of the summer. The third time he tried it he was extremely aggressive and we called 911. I have no idea what the police could charge him with, but they responded and canvassed the neighborhood. They asked my girlfriend and I to call 911 again if we saw him or knew of other who did, so if you do see him, call the police I guess.

  • Yup right around 10th and N same story. On the phone needed to get to the hospital.

    There’s another woman who parks her car and claims he ran out of gas as the car is perfectly parked and needs gas money to head back to Woodbridge.

  • “Omg, me too! want to share a cab?”

  • I have experienced this man twice on two separate bus lines (the 54 and the 63), same story as some of the other comments. He “talks” on this phone then hangs up and says he needs money for a taxi to get to Sibley Hospital because his daughters in labor. The second time I saw him, I shared with people close to me that I had seen him around before and his story wasn’t true. When no one gave him money he got back on the phone and again “talked” to someone complaining very aggressively about how the people on the bus were cheap and uncaring.

  • HA. He asked me for some money. I laughed and said: No way. As I was walking away, he stopped a couple of females on bikes. I slowed down my pace to make sure that he didn’t bother them too much.

  • Wasn’t this scam featured on POPVille last year sometime? This guy is dedicated.

    There’s also the lady who hangs out around the Zoo after close saying she works there and her car got locked in and needs $$$ for a taxi. One time I suggested she call the Zoo Police and that I could call them for her to unlock the gate. She quickly left.

  • Ran into him once at Farragut west

  • Yea, this guy’s daughter has apparently been getting badly burned for several months now, according to the stories he’s told me each time I’ve seen him.

  • I was stopped by someone trying the same scam around Girard and 11th, but he didn’t seem very dedicated. He picked up his phone as I was walking nearby, said in the least believable voice, “Oh my god! Burned on 70% of her body?” He looked at me and asked for money to the hospital. I said no. He got back on the phone and said, “This young lady can’t help me out. Maybe she’s having a tough time too. I don’t know.”

    The most ridiculous part is that he then he hung up the phone and started hitting on me! “I have a daughter, but not an old lady…” etc. This poor girl’s dad is pretty easily distracted.

    • I’ve encountered this hospital scam and many of the other panhandling scams mentioned in DC and in other cities where I’ve lived. I’ve been cursed at countless times when I’ve declined to give money. I’ve been called ugly names. But this week was the first time I encountered physical threats upon refusing to hand over cash, and the same thing happened to my intern. In my case, the panhandler threatened to bash my head in with a baseball bat, although no bat seemed to be immediately available. I was quite shaken and seriously considered making a complaint to the police (maybe I should have?). Anyone else ever been similarly threatened?

  • Yesterday on the 64 going through Columbia heights. He was wearing a parking attendant vest. He said his daughter poured hot grease on her private parts and was worried she’d never have kids again. Some poor lady offered to pray for him. He was trying to get to the hospital. He works really hard to not loose your attention.

  • Yes! I gave him money in February when he claimed he needed to get to the hospital for his daughters breech baby. I passed him again 10 minutes later hustling another couple at which point I confronted him and asked for my money back. He returned the money I have him and claimed “he was just trying to get by”. In march I was approached by him at 12th and U. Same story.

  • I encountered him at Columbia Road and Georgia Ave back in late February/early March. I didn’t give him money, but I did get him an uber and instructed the uber driver to take him directly and only to Sibley Hospital (the uber receipt showed he did). He was really committed to the scam I guess, considering he went there and got no money out of it.

  • Happened to me on U Street this past Saturday night. Same guy having the same agitated fake phone conversation.

  • Downtown, this past December or January. Asked for money to get to Sibley b/c daughter was having baby.

  • nightborn

    I’ve encountered this guy near 14th and P. Same story, needs to get to hospital. I just said no and kept walking – I’ve lived in the area most of my life and I know a scam when I see it.

  • I saw him at 11th and Florida Ave, asking the same thing, he needed money to get to Sibley hospital because his daughter has some degree burns. He claimed he works at Howard university hospital. I knew it was a lie before he could finish his story. Told him I had no money. I knew it was a scam. I hope I see him again, let him know his game is stupid and he’s famous because we all know him and his game. LOL

  • Had this happen on H Street the other night…it wasn’t even close to convincing.

  • Two years ago, outside National Cathedral School, during afternoon dismissal. He drove up wildly shouting that he needed gas money to get to his daughter in Baltimore who had a car accident.

  • This guy is still going strong. He was at it again last night at Mt Vernon Square stopping cars and asking for money so he could take his daughter to Sibley because she had been badly burned. Sounds like this daughter has really been through the ringer…

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