WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2008, 12:20 p.m.
By Linda Spice
UWM students warned about scam
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police are warning local students not to give strangers rides in cars.
Investigators say a man has scammed at least four people in recent weeks in a ruse in which he told them he was out of gas and needed a ride. Once he is in the car, he then asks to borrow money, then takes off.
The most recent case was reported on Sunday when a UWM student who was leaving the Architecture and Urban Planning building was approached about 9:28 p.m. by someone who asked for a ride to a gas station because he was out of gas. Once the man was in the student's car, the man asked to borrow $20, which the student gave to him.
The man directed the student to drive him to Locust and Richards Streets and then to Providence Ave. and Newhall St., where the man got out of the car and ran.
UWM police put out an alert to students on Tuesday and have started receiving more complaints from students who provided a similar description of a white male, about 21 to 23 years old and about 5-feet-9. He was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket. The victim from Sunday's case said the man told him his name was Chris.
UWM police Capt. Michael Marzion said investigators are working to tie all of the cases together. He said there is no indication that any of the victims was threatened, and no one reported any injuries.
He said police put out the alert this week "to tell people not to do this."
"Realize that anything you offer people like this, you stand a great chance of losing it," he said.
He said although the students have shown "a spirit of wanting to help" that "he's taking advantage of their kindness."