An Indianapolis man is fighting back against an alleged scam artist by posting pictures of the suspect throughout the neighborhood.
Chad Martz began posting warning flyers throughout his Broad Ripple neighborhood and along the Monon Trail, after he said he nearly lost $100 to the man.
“Just in hopes that someone might see his face and be leery enough if he came to their door,” Martz said.
Martz said the man, Timothy Ryan Sparks, approached him two days ago saying he was collecting charitable donations that would be used to buy magazines for children at Riley Hospital.
“He was very convincing and I’ll admit that both me and my wife were duped,” Martz said.
Sparks said that he worked for a company called Expedition Sales. He even provided a web address and printed materials, and that was enough to convince Martz to give him a check for $100. Moments later he realized there was a problem.
“As soon as he left, I googled that company and it said that there were complaints, and I saw a complaint out in California,” Martz said.
A quick search of Expedition Sales online also finds an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
“That ‘F’ grade or ‘F’ rating is based on consumer complaints being filed with the BBB and then the company not responding,” said Bill Thomas, Spokesman for the Better Business Bureau.
“I’m like, ‘Okay, I think we need to get our money back. I need to get that check back from him.’ So I actually ran down our street,” Martz said.
Chad did manage to get his money back, but by the time police arrived, Sparks was nowhere to be found.
“He had a lot of checks, so I’m thinking of how many people in the neighborhood had been duped?” Martz said.
Martz found a mughsot for Timothy Ryan Sparks online. Police in Oklahoma arrested him for soliciting without a license this spring.
Martz also discovered complaints from homeowners in four states that named Sparks specifically. That’s when Martz decided to make posters in order to keep others from being duped.
“Even if it helped just one or two people, it’s worth it because who knows what the guy would have done with their information,” Martz said.
The IMPD fraud unit is investigating Sparks, if you have information call police.
The Better Business Bureau doesn’t advise anyone give money to door-to-door solicitors, especially if they are seeking money for charities. Thomas said the best advice is to research and select charities independently.