Woman Arrested for Impersonating Komen Volunteer at Barnes Jewish Hospital

9:55 PM, May 21, 2008   |    comments
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By Ann Rubin (KSDK) -- It's a charity that raises money to fight breast cancer, but St. Louis police have arrested a woman for using the Susan G. Komen for the Cure name to raise money for herself. Police said the woman was taking advantage of some St. Louisans generosity. She would sign them up for the race, then pocket their money. Inside the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes Jewish Hospital, tons of people pick up entry forms for the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure. But recently, one woman stood out. She came each week, taking 50 forms at a time. Katherine Jones, an employee at the center, noticed something wasn't right. "The frequency of her coming in for the registration forms, and then her not bringing anything back just really caught my eye," Jones said. Staff soon noticed something else: the woman was in the halls and outside the building, approaching people for Komen donations. The problem: she had nothing to do with the charity. Barnes security notifed St. Louis Police and they quickly made an arrest. "She was pretty aggressive, pretty confident, pretty reassuring to the victims," said Captain Michael Caruso. Now they're trying to determine how many people fell victim to her fraud and how much money was stolen. "We don't know how many forms she had to start with, so we don't know how many potential victims are out there," Caruso said. Komen officials said they're saddened by what happened and are working with authorities. Meanwhile, this year's race is fast approaching and volunteers hope others won't be deterred from donating. They say there are plenty of safe ways to do it, for example at sign-up-drives or online. "We really hope that this one really unfortunate situation doesn't dampen the spirits of the thousands of thousands of people who mean so much to us," said Susan Kraenzle, Siteman Cancer Center. NewsChannel 5 is a media sponsor of Race for the Cure, which takes place Saturday, June 21. St. Louis Police would like to speak with anyone who believes they were defrauded by this woman. If you have any information, contact the Central Patrol Division Detectives at 444-2500.


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