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2011-08-25 digital edition

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2011-08-25 / Front Page

Scam Artist Preying on Local Business People

Last Wednesday, a man known by the Lee County Sheriff ’s Department as Gorman Allen, began performing for several area businesses. There was just one problem – his “performance” was a scam.

On Wednesday afternoon, August 17, 2011, a white man entered Jean Dowdy’s antique and gift shop, The Dowdy House, in Lexington, and frantically told her that he was working for an oil company just outside of Lexington and that he had just received word that his wife and daughter had been in a serious car accident in Amarillo. He told Jean that he had lost his wallet and didn’t have any money to put gas in his car and asked if she had any money she could spare.

Jean said, “He was so frantic and seemed so worried about his family that he convinced me that he really did need to get to his family. I was sure he was sincere, so I gave him $20 and told him that I hoped everyone would be okay. He convinced me that he was going straight to get gas and then head toward Amarillo.”

Later in the day, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a white male who had walked into a place of business and told the owner that his daughter was in a wreck and he lost his wallet and needed money. That store owner did not give him any money, but noticed that the subject left in a white Toyota and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Lee County Deputies Allen and Durrenberger were dispatched. The subject’s vehicle was located in Giddings and the driver was brought to the Sheriff’s Office for questioning.

Sheriff Rodney Meyer said this isn’t the first time Allen has scammed Lee County residents. Sheriff Meyer said, “Allen has been around Lee County for some time. About a year ago, he ran this same scam in Giddings. When we picked him up last Wednesday, we told him he needed to leave town. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anything on him that could warrant an arrest.”

Sheriff Meyer also said that his office received a call this past Monday from someone in Brenham. Apparently a shop owner in that town had given the man $40 “for gas”.

Sheriff Meyer said, “Last week, I learned that a lady at a Lexington beauty shop gave the man $4. I also learned that Allen approached a woman at one of our local churches and gave her the same story, trying to get money from her. Luckily, she didn’t fall for his scam.”

According to Sheriff Meyer, Allen is about 51 or 52 years old. He warns local citizens to recognize his scam and not give him any money. He’s apparently a pretty good actor and manages to convince a lot of people that he has lost his wallet and that he has to get to West Texas, or some place else, to tend to family members who have suffered serious injuries in a car wreck.

Sheriff Meyer suggests that if this man approaches you, call the Sheriff’s Department immediately.

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