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Police: Scammers posed as Woodstock employees to seek donations

Sun-Times file photo

Police in northwest suburban Woodstock are investigating scammers who have recently posed as city employees to solicit charitable donations from local businesses.

The first scam occurred Feb. 16, when a man going by the name “Mike Thomas” introduced himself as a City of Woodstock employee to a restaurant owner, according to a statement from Woodstock police. The man asked the owner for a donation for an Over 40 softball league, and the owner gave him an unspecified amount of cash.

The suspect was described as a white man in his early 40s, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing 260 pounds, police said. He had blond hair and wore a red hat, white T-shirt, brown sweater and blue jeans.

In a second incident on March 30, a man entered a different Woodstock restaurant, introduced himself to the manager as “Tom Ellis” and claimed to work for the Woodstock Water Department, according to police. He told the manager he’d spoken to the restaurant owner and that the owner had approved a donation to help fund a charitable golf team.

The manager wrote the man a check for an undisclosed amount of money, police said. However, payment on the check was stopped after the manager spoke to the owner and realized the owner never authorized a donation.

The suspect in the March 30 scam was described as a 5-foot-10, 350-pound white man in his late 40s or early 50s, police said. He had short white hair and wore a white baseball cap, blue sweater and blue jeans.

Police said the City of Woodstock does not authorize its employees to solicit for donations as representatives of the city. City employees carry city-issued ID cards and must show them if requested while working in their official capacity.

Anyone with information about the reported scams or similar incidents is asked to contact the Woodstock Police Department at (815) 338-2131.