Door-to-Door Alert: ‘Locksmith’ scammer may be active again

Just last week, we had reports of suspicious solicitors going door-to-door in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

A neighbor just alerted us to another possible scam that might be happening.

Last night (3 April) at around 10:30, a younger-looking, thin black man rang our doorbell. He said his name was Clark Lewis, that he was a janitor at UW, and that he and his boyfriend had apparently just moved into nearby condos. He told us he had locked his keys and wallet inside of his condo, and needed $3 to pay a locksmith who was on the way. It sounded kind of fishy, but we coughed up the $3 in the spirit of neighborliness. When we gave him the money, he said, “Oh, I needed THIRTEEN dollars …” but we coincidentally didn’t have any more cash. He also asked questions about our neighbors. We kept our eyes casually peeled on our alley/street before going to bed, and no locksmith ever arrived.

Our next-door neighbors were also visited by this same fellow with the same story last night, and our downstairs neighbor said the same guy hit him up a few months ago with a similar tale. Both neighbors agreed that he seemed suspicious.

This neighbor also mentioned finding an article on My Green Lake from last December about a similar incident in which an individual claimed to be locked out of his house and needed money to pay the locksmith. It could be that the same person is active again, or it could be an entirely new scam.

At last fall’s neighborhood crime prevention meeting, Diane Horswill from the SPD Crime Prevention Unit shared a safety tip for preventing burglaries, but can also help with these sorts of solicitors, no matter what time of day they come by.

  • DO let strangers know you’re home: Most burglaries happen during the day when nobody is home because they don’t want to run into anyone. If you’re at home during the day and a stranger comes to your door, don’t open the door. Ask “YES?” very loudly through the door when they knock, and then give them “No thank you!” if it’s someone you don’t know. This can go a long way in protecting your home from burglaries.

Help keep your neighbors informed and let us know when you spot suspicious activity in the hood. Send tips to:  blog@roosiehood.com.