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Police give warning over scam artist

When Maseree Lewis found a man she didn’t know on her porch, shehad no way of knowing right away that he had just been inside herhome on Moak Street and stolen her billfold and checkbook.

“He knew who I was and I asked, ‘Who are you,’ and he said hisname was Smith,” she said. “By the time he walked off, my neighborssaid he’d been in my house.”

It was in the short amount of time it took Lewis to walk to theback of her house to check on her brother that he had walked in andtaken $140 and a checkbook.

Police are warning Brookhaven residents that this scam artist isshowing up at people’s doors with different ruses to stealmoney.

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said police are currentlysearching for the suspect, whose name is not yet being released, inseveral thefts in the South Second Street area.

Officials said the suspect is a black male, 5 feet 9 inches talland weighs around 155 pounds. He may have a goatee.

“He asks for money – he’ll say his wife is in the hospital, orthat a family member has died, or some other story,” Hendersonsaid. “But he will and has walked in to people’s houses.”

Area residents who have been visited by the con artist reportthe man having told stories about his house burning down, needingmoney for a baby’s prescription, and various others designed to getpeople to give him money. He has also told stories about neighborsneeding help, and when the people left their home to go check, hewould enter the house.

Frances Braxton said the man had knocked on her door, too, butthat she had spoken to him through the screen door.

“He said he had a daughter or something that had drunk some ratpoison or something and that she was in the hospital. He said heneeded money to get the baby’s medicine,” she said. “I knew he wastelling a story when he said the baby was in intensive care but heneeded the money to get the medicine? I know better than that.”

Henderson said it is important for residents to keep their eyesand ears open.

“This is primarily happening at night, but it can happen duringthe day,” he said. “If someone comes to your door asking for moneyand you don’t know him, call the police.”

Anyone with information on the suspect can call BrookhavenPolice Department at 601-833-2424.