OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Police arrested a man who said he was soliciting donations for military care packages Thursday. Aaron Johansen of Ogden, Utah was arrested for trespassing and violating the city's soliciting ordinance at the Arium Apartments.
Overland Park police also warned residents the organization he was representing, Helping Heroes, is a scam. But its founder, Kody Morrison, also from Ogden, disputes those claims.
Robyn DeLacy-Kelly had one of the men approach her on Mother's Day at her Lee’s Summit home.
“He said he was collecting cash donations for care packages overseas, and my husband just thought it sounded really suspicious because he asked him for a flier and he said he didn’t have one, they just write you a receipt," she said.
She called police and put out a warning on the Facebook page, Stolen KC.
“I didn’t want people to think they were giving their money to a good cause and that it ended up not being a good cause," DeLacy-Kelly said.
The only number on the organization's website, is a woman’s cellphone. She says she gets people calling about them all the time, but hadn't been able to track down anyone within the organization to report the error.
After a little digging FOX 4's Dave D'Marko was able to reach Morrison, who blamed the website designer for the issue.
He said each box filled with items including hot sauce, shoe inserts and baby wipes costs $67 dollars to ship. He said they’d already collected enough money in the metro to ship 40 boxes, plus pay his team of solicitors.
“They are warning everyone that your organization is a scam, that was put out by the police department," D'Marko told him in a phone conversation.
Morrison declined FOX 4's request to meet for an interview, but denied police assertions he's running a scam. He did indicate the group would likely be leaving town since police weren’t making them feel welcome.
“I just hope that other people in other cities realize they are not a legit business or charity," DeLacy-Kelly said.
Overland Park police advise anyone with questions about whether a charity is legitimate to research the charity's reputation with the National Charities Information Bureau or the Secretary of State's Office.