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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Here's the "Welches stolen truck" con man!

An alert reader has photographed the infamous con man who has talked Portlanders out of untold thousands of dollars in "cab money" on the streets over the last four years. (See prior posts here and here.) He was giving his spiel (same one he gave me on Tuesday afternoon) last night when the reader popped out his camera:

The reader writes:

He started his story down on the corner of NW Couch and Broadway around 11PM.

I almost started laughing when he uttered his first question, "Are you guys familiar with Welches, OR?" As my friend listened and actually started going for his wallet, I quietly pulled out my camera phone and took his picture. Enjoy.

We will indeed -- especially on Monday morning, when we call the cops.

This guy has committed theft by deception dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands, of times. He is a complete fraud. DO NOT GIVE MONEY TO HIM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

And if you can tell us who he is and where he lives, we've got a $60 cash reward -- all information about you to be kept confidential. Just drop a dime by e-mailing what you know here.

UPDATE, 7/24, 7:18 p.m.: Several readers have supplied a name (they corroborate each other), but we do not yet have an address.

Comments (49)

Impressive sleuthing

This guy was extremely convincing. I almost pulled out my wallet to give him $10(and I felt guilty for only having a ten spot)! I remember thinking my friend was being extremely rude by taking his photograph without permission. He was wearing clean and casual clothes...even had a pair of Croc's on his feet! What homeless junkie wears Croc's, right? Also, he said his truck was worth $18,000 and pleaded with me to "show an an ounce of trust in humanity"!
He's a con man. Walk away...better yet, call him on it! Any cops in the area? Tell them.

Jeez. The guy looks like my Lake Oswego neighbor.

He looks like a buddy of mine from law school who works downtown. Or, maybe it is him and the job market realy went south.

If you think it may be the same guy, e-mail me. I'm not going to publish any identification until I have talked this over with someone in the Portland Police Bureau.

I would guess he's not a tweaker, base purely on his full fledged American waistline.


Good luck with the MultCo criminal justice system. He'd could have stolen YOUR truck and he'd still be home in time for Leno.

There's a demonstration happening here of this 'new media' and its networking effects. This is great.

Now let's not be too hasty to pass judgment. Maybe this poor fellow has had a horrendous string of bad luck, has his truck repeatedly stolen and finds himself in the same unenviable position in the same location day after day.

Sweet! Just shoot me an e-mail Jack so I know where to send the ten spot.

OMG, that's the guy on the Mattress World commercials.

Quite honestly, I would be very surprised to hear that the Portland Police have the time or resources to give this more than a small amount of attention.

On the other hand, thousands of people are going to know exactly what the scumbag looks like. I would imagine that he is going to have to change his spiel entirely from now on, and the one he had going sounds pretty polished and well practiced.

That's the dirty rat I told to "Take A long lick on a short sack" on 60th and Glisan.

Please, get real...You cannot walk five feet anywhere in Portland without some person trying to get money out of you with some elaborate tale....Ditto in any other urban area in America...."Theft By Deception" hardly applies to street people lying to illicit sympathy, ergo donations....If it does apply, better round up every, "Vet," at every stop sign and freeway exit in town...

Just walk away.

I will... but I am going to put this one out of business if I can.

Post his picture with the comment "This man is a con man and he could be a Child Molester" on poles and building on his favorite spots. Should hurt his "business" (note the 'could', will this be ok from a defamation standpoint?)

I wouldn't even insinuate something like child molestation. But con man? Oh yeah.

It reminds me of this con-man in Quito, Ecuador--he even got a write-up in a tourist guide. He'd tell foreigners how he was a religious student who'd been robbed his first night in town, and just needed cash to get back home. I actually met him, and thought about giving him a couple bucks 'cause his act was so good :). Instead I told him how famous he'd become, at which he took off pretty fast.

The February 2006 Margie Boulé columns about the guy are here and here.

I will... but I am going to put this one out of business if I can

Allow me to interpolate that remark. "This one suckered me, so I'm taking the whole thing personally."

You got a problem with that, friend?

I remember thinking my friend was being extremely rude by taking his photograph without permission.

Actually, I have researched this a bit since I started my new photo hobby with my digital camera. Im pretty sure he doesnt need permission. It was out in public, and I dont think Mr. Con Man has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" if he is out in public asking for cash. That, and he smiled for photo.

However, publishing his picture (even on a blog) gets a bit sticky, but Im sure Jack knows what he is doing...

You got a problem with that, friend?

Who, moi? No. But I say be honest about it.

Engaging in the act of giving cash money to street panhandlers, schtick-enhanced or not, is always, to put it gently, ill-advised. Jersey City Jack should have known better about that one right from the get-go. And I think he knows it too, which is what's driving him here.

There is more than one doing this. Tuesday the 17th I was walking North on SW 1st ave and was approached by a guy (Younger than this one, clean shaven, dark hair) that said he was from Maryland I think, and needed cab fair to Emanual Hospital. His wife had just gone into labor. His car was not running, he was staying the hotel right there at the foot of the Morrison bridge. Said He needed help. I told him it was not that long of a walk.

Of course, there are a zillion lying panhandlers out there. But this guy is extremely good at it, and he's been doing it for many years with the same spiel. His take has been in the thousands of dollars. He's legendary.

I paid my money, and now I'm going to get my money's worth out of the experience.

About two years ago one of my employees (very burly, fit kind of a guy)got taken by this same scammer near Portland State. I had him check the photo this morning and, "yup, that's him". The guy took down my employee's address and said he'd return the money. Same shtick "have some faith in humankind".

Some weeks later, my employee ran across him again. Through some "persuasion", the kind of which we will not discuss here, he made the guy open his wallet and give him the $14.00 he had in it. As interest.

Way to go Jack!

Can't wait 'til we get him identified...

"Engaging in the act of giving cash money to street panhandlers, schtick-enhanced or not, is always, to put it gently, ill-advised."

Swindling so many people, in such a small area, for such a long time is also ill-advised. It increases the likelihood that one will run across a few who might want to make things right, and create some consequences.

I don't understand why some people here are criticizing Jack for this, and seeminly want to keep things easy for the Welches guy and others like him. If y'all think the streets are fair game, and naive people deserve what they get when they are cheated, then you shouldn't have a problem with the cheaters meeting their match as well.

Hey, Don't mistake my observation that the world, and more specifically Portland, is full of scammers as any desire to see them get away with it. I am simply saying that going to the police and asking them to make an arrest for, "Theft by deception," on a street person is a waste of time...If he gets his comeuppence, I'll be as happy as anybody...

Consequences for ones actions is something we do not see enough of these days...

I ran into this guy at the Fred Meyer on 102nd & Halsey. When he told me his story, I didn't have any cash but offered him a ride. Needless to say he didn't accept. Let's get him.

This guy got me downtown once during his first reign of deception. Then later in that year, he found me again. The second time, I told him it was a good story but I fell for it already about six months before. He didn't say a word and walked off looking dejected. For me to be amongst so many that have had the same guy hit them more than once, he must have really worked it hard.

Re: Jon & "I remember thinking my friend was being extremely rude by taking his photograph without permission."

Legally – at least as it was drummed into me at RIT's photo school and by some other photojournalists – you may take anyone's photo when they are "in public" for any reason and may reproduce that image for "newsworthy editorial purposes" – in a newpaper, say – without the subject's permission. A good argument can be made that a blog like this serves as a "newspaper," etc.

Rude? Nah. Our friend seems to be enjoying the attention.

Maybe he is mentally ill and truly cannot help telling this lie over and over. Of course, if he is sick, it certainly doesn't hurt that his illness is so profitable.

Keep up the good work, Jack. This piece of garbage got $20.00 from me two years ago in my bar. I've seen a lot in my days, and even I got snookered by this jerk.

The picture is perfect. It's him. Let's get him.

I'm from Welches. I've been here for 26 yrs. and I don't recognize him. Perhaps we'll circulate his picture up here and see what we come up with.

I believe this cats name is K**** and he works commercial construction.

also from welches, 25yrs, he's stranger than...

I gave this guy $3 last week at NW Johnson (near REI). Saw him the next day over in NE at Broadway.

Moderator, please email at listed address, I DO know who this guy is, although that's about all...

I can't seem to get into Passport which is why I'm posting here...

This guy came into where I work a few months ago and said that he was working for a contractor and that his boss had dropped him off for a job, but didn't return to pick him up. He'd called his boss but he wasn't answering, or returning his calls. He needed to get back to some place over in Washington and needed bus fare. I called my assistant manager and had him speak with him. The story just didn't make sense... if he was a contractor, why would his boss drop him OFF? Anyway, this was in SW Portland, (a few miles from down town) he hit a couple of our customers up for some cash before we got him chased off.

Maybe you're shutting down his story. :)
TOTALLY WEIRD that he's been around for a couple years. It obviously is making him money.

About 18 months ago this guy approached me and a friend around 1100pm on about 16th and NE Broadway. He gave us the same story he has given everyone else. We grilled him for about 10 minutes, and a lot didnt seem to make sense, but it was entertaining to say the least. We gave him $40 knowing we'd never see it again. I had some good stuff happen at work the next day so I figured it was karma paying me back.

This man is someone I know. He has a long history of drug and alcohol use. I have a call into the city police and will give them the information I know.

Holy @#$%!!!! This exact guy came up to me with this same story not more than 2 weeks ago. I was walking to work and it was as I was crossing 17th and W Burnside that he asked me if I knew where Welches OR was (I didn't), then went into a thing about how he was in Portland on a job and his truck was just stolen. I asked him if he had called the cops and he said he had but since there was no violence or confrontation they wouldn't even come out, only took a report over the phone. He was VERY convincing, said something like "by the grace of God I'm not lying, I'm just an honest man having a bad day" and it was very believable. I said I was broke and as he walked off I almost yelled for him to come back so I could give him some moeny but I didn't -- thankfully. That's insane this guy is so well known. I bet he makes a lot money. He is completely convincing, well spoken, looks like a contractor... wow. This happened very early too, around 6:15am. Honestly, I've felt sorta bad ever since then because he seemed like such a nice guy.. like an older brother, but now my guilt has vanished. Crazy..

Hey this guys my roomate lived with him for almost a year. Over here in vancouver. His name is david ****** and needs to be stop. Ya know its about time he hit his bottom. When he is sober/clean he is a really nice guy will go out of his way too help its to bad nobody has tried to help him. That is with his mental state of mind. I pray for him each and ever night.

Good Job Getting this freak off the streets, lets get more!!!

I posted my story on KGW blog and the very same story, and even confrontrd him this last weekend and he said I was mistaken, but so uncomfortable he got up from the video poker machine and cashed out $15 dollars. I am enraged and if I see him then sometimes Karma needs a little push when my intentions were to help. I'd forgotten till I read every other reply about the are you familiar with where Welches line. He said he's only lived here a short time, at that point I almost asked for money back [20] as I'd seen him before, and even said as much. Get him and I'll be a willing participant, with friends as witness' to me confronting him and his scurry away.

I gave this guy 20 bucks 3 yrs ago at the Burgerville off MLK by the Convention Center. Same story, broken down truck and cab fare. I gave for karma :(



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