Police: Door-to-door schemer claims to be collecting for veterans

Man is selling tickets to a "charity event" to provide meal plans for veterans

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Police are warning you to be on the lookout for a scheme going door to door.

According to Holyoke Police Lt. Jim Albert, the scheme was reported this week by residents on Homestead Avenue in Holyoke. Albert says a clean cut, well-dressed man was reported going door to door claiming he was selling $40 dollar tickets for a “2015 Homecoming” event for “Operation Military Pax” that would provide meal plans for veterans. The tickets (which Albert says are creased and well worn, as if they have been in a pocket for a long time) read “Welcome Home Troops” and advise the bearer to keep for tax purposes. The tickets say that the date and time of the event are still to be announced.

Lt. Albert also said the suspect told the victims he was affiliated with Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.

22News went to Westover to find out if anyone there had heard about this. They too warn residents this is not them, and no one from the base is going door to door.

“I want to be clear that anyone soliciting door to door is not connected with Westover.  Westover as a federal institution- can not go door to door- it would actually be illegal for us; the same reason we don’t charge for the air show,” Lt. Col. James Bishop of Westover said.

Bishop also told 22News that there are reputable charities that do support local military veterans, such as the Pioneer Valley USO, but coming to your home asking for money is not part of their fundraising practices. He added that if someone comes to your home claiming to be from Westover or any other military installation, be sure you ask for proper identification.

If you are concerned the person is not who they say they are, be sure to call your local police department.

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