WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP — The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office is investigating a burglary suspect in relation to an alleged basketball fundraising scam.
The suspect claimed to be raising money for their basketball team when they came in contact with a victim, reported Randy Gustafson, crime prevention coordinator.
The incident could be related to social media posts and word-of-mouth reports in the White Bear Lake community recently, where suspects reportedly approached or entered homes and then claimed to be doing a basketball fundraiser. The suspects had a letter with a logo claiming they were raising funds to go to Miami. The White Bear Lake Basketball Association reported the letter is a scam; they are not going to Miami.
The Sheriff’s Office said it has seen photographs of the alleged scam letter but has not received any additional calls about it beyond the burglary report.
“If any readers have information about this scam letter, or have a copy in their possession, please have them report this to either the Sheriff’s Office or White Bear Lake Police Department (dependent upon where they live) by calling 911 and ask to talk to an officer,” Gustafson noted.
The Sheriff's Office is investigating two burglary incidents in White Bear Township it believes are related to the basketball scam. On June 18 about 7:45 a.m., a wallet was taken from a purse inside a house in the 5200 block of Bald Eagle Boulevard. The resident had gone next door. The wallet was found a few doors down but a credit card had been taken. Use was declined by the owner's bank. The suspect is a juvenile.
Later that morning, about 11:15 a.m., a home was reported entered in the 1800 block of Stillwater Street while the owner was away between 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Change and credit cards were taken from the home.
“These cases have been linked as possibly involving the same suspect,” Gustafson reported. “The investigator is actively working to collect evidence and build a case that could lead to arrest and charging.”
The White Bear Lake Police Department has received two recent reports of basketball fundraising solicitation that appear to be similar in nature. The residents who reported the incidents did not give any money. Officers attempted to locate the solicitors but were unsuccessful. The solicitation itself, without proof of being a scam, is not a crime but is a violation of city ordinance.