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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welches con man claims another victim

A first-time reader writes:

I was scammed earlier this evening (8/30/2010) on SW 11th and Yamhill. He started out with the usual line "Have you heard of Welches?" He told us his truck was stolen and he needed cab fare to get home. I totally thought he was legit and honest. Shortly after I gave him $20, my boyfriend googled his name. We jumped in the car and drove around downtown hoping to find him. I stopped a police officer and told him the story. Hopefully the d**che nozzle gets what's coming to him! Funny thing is... the police officer seemed shocked that we googled the guy and saw that he was a scam artist. How do they not know who he is?
It beats me, reader; it beats me.

Comments (19)

The police don't know who this guy is because he's probably not breaking any laws. He doesn't strong arm anyone... he simply takes his wit and charm and incredible ability to spin a good story, and puts it together to make beer money.

Guy probably hasn't paid for his own beer since 1993.

If this isn't a victimless crime, then it's a victim-too-gullible crime.

If the police are going to jump in and arrest the Welches Conman for tricking you out of ten bucks, then they are going to have to arrest the tavern owners and the state government for getting you to drop a 20-spot in the Video Poker machine.

And while your at it, better pick up that chick who got you to buy her all those drinks and then didn't go home with you.

You know what they say about the fool and his dosh...

You are wrong. The crime he is committing is theft by deception. ORS 164.085. Although each offense would be theft in the third degree (a Class C misdemeanor), taken together Mr. Wilson's crimes total in the many thousands of dollars, which might suggest a relatively harsh sentence.

Perhaps the biggest problem is going to be when one of his victims uses force on him.

It isn't just beer money, he has a history of drug abuse.

If David happens to be on probation or parole, then Theft by deception (many times over) might be enough for his PO to revoke him. Don't know if he is, just seems like a guy like this could be.

If someone has his full name and birthdate I think the local PO office will tell you if he is under supervision and the name of his PO. Worth a try maybe.

As far as the cops are concerned I would bet they would like to get this guy too. But as the reader mentioned, I bet few know of him.

It might worthwhile to have a chrono (I think Jack has already done this) of Dave's deeds, forwarded to the local PPB precinct for their afternoon briefing. At least then we would know they know.

If you don't know the person just say no. Always. No exceptions.

A friend of mine who has difficulty saying no to panhandlers carrys granola bars to give out. Or buy some meal tickets from Sisters of the Road and give those out.

Does anyone know if citizen's arrest is still on the books in Oregon? Seems like that was tossed around this site a little, maybe during the Beaulita saga.

As someone who has worked with homeless folks of all ages in Portland over the past 10 years. . .I can say that most panhandlers are lucky to get eye contact and a "no" response when they ask for money.

I really don't understand how this guy is getting TWENTY dollars, in these recessionary times, out of people.

Don't think I haven't thought of my mortgage in multiples of $20 since I started reading about him.

A simple answer to "Why don't the cops know him?" is this: How many people who have been taken by him actually stop and take the time to file a full police report?

I thought of the Welches con man whilst watching "Date Night", and the scene(s) where the exact same thing happens.

Thanks, Jack. I can now cross the "Welches Con" off my list of things to do to make money. I looked up the statute, and found this section interesting:

"Deception" does not include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or representations unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.

I guess this is the "common sense" clause?

There is also precedent in the great case of "State v Liar, Liar, Pants-afire".

Basically, you have a party saying, "He asked me for $20 for gas/cab, I freely gave it! Lying bastard drunk it away."

Mind you, I'm not condoning the actions at all, and I'd love to see this guy recieve a Karmic smackdown, but honestly, I don't think this is anything that any court jurisdiction is going to waste time prosecuting...

Sitings of David Wilson have been made today around SW Scholls Ferry Rd. and SW Laurelwood near Oregon Episcopal School and Jesuit. He was taking a leak on my friends apartment building wall right out in the open. He was drunk and staggered away before anyone could confront him. His mother, who is now deceased, use to live in the apartment building and he'd frequently crash there. He also frequents the Fred Meyer stores on Hillsdale Hwy and Barbur. I've had the experience of his scam at Barbur, but luckily didn't bite. He travels many places and his time will come.

I don't think this is anything that any court jurisdiction is going to waste time prosecuting...

Again, the sum total of these thefts runs into many thousands of dollars. It's been going on for many years. The guy needs to be taken off Portland's streets.

"Again, the sum total of these thefts runs into many thousands of dollars. It's been going on for many years. The guy needs to be taken off Portland's streets."

Can you prove that? How?

I'm not trying to be argumentative, Jack (trust me, we're on the same side here) but the truth is, you don't know how many people he conned, or for how much... and there's no way at all that any of that could be proven in court.

What you have is anecdotes of a dozen or so pissed-off people who got taken for $10 or $20.

Maybe when he goes drinking he uses other money, and then uses the "conned" money to actually get home. Is it a crime then? Who knows?

I understand the anger and the frustration, but until it becomes much more serious than $10 here and there (or until people start filing police reports and make real noise about it) he won't be stopped.

Thanks for the comment, Dan, but you really don't know what I "have," and your speculation about that is completely wrong.

David Wilson has been pulling his con on streets of Portland since at least 2001. His normal pitch is for $40. Many suckers have given him the full amount, others something less. Many dozens of victims have come forward, and of course, there are many others who don't even know they've been had. He's been written up by Margie Boule in the O and profiled on KGW News. Boule reports that more than 100 people contacted her in 2006 to say they'd been taken in by Wilson.

To say that he's hit up 250 people every summer for an average of $20 each would be a conservative estimate. That's $5,000 a year. At least.

If he shoplifted just one $10 DVD from Fred Meyer, Mike Schrunk would prosecute him for Theft 4. This is no different, and it's happening every day, on a much larger scale.

Not to mention the fact that one of these days, one of his victims could take it out on Wilson in a violent way. Which would not be a good outcome.

It's much more serious than you understand. Please read up on David Wilson before commenting about him again.

Shoplifting a 10 dollar DVD is totally different than asking a stranger for a 10 dollar handout. In the first the person is taking something by force. In the latter, they're receiving something that was freely given.

The only conflict here is the one between a fool and his money.

There's no force in shoplifting. And transfers induced by fraud are not "freely given." Please, get a clue.

Just trying to add to the dialogue Jack. Thanks for the suggestion.

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