Teen scammer, claiming to be local basketball player, hitting Johnson County neighborhoods up for money

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LENEXA, Kan. – A teen scammer is scouring neighborhoods in Johnson County looking to get money out of generous people.

Police say the teen suspect is ringing doorbells in Lenexa claiming to be on the Olathe Northwest basketball team.

Melody Cole bought the Papa Murphy’s coupons the kid was selling for $20.

“I wanted to support the basketball team and make a difference for the kid,” Cole said.

Cole has two daughters who are on the dance team at Olathe Northwest. While at the game she checked the basketball roster for the junior named Ethan. He wasn’t on it.

“I never found that description,” Cole said. “So when I saw that on Nextdoor, it made sense.”

The Olathe Northwest assistant principal who is in charge of fundraisers, said the school has not partnered with Papa Murphy’s on any fundraisers with any clubs of athletic teams this school year.

“That was not legitimate at all,” Danny Chavez with the Lenexa Police Department said. “There was no partnership between the school and the establishment.”

If someone is going door to door in your neighborhood, Chavez says it’s smart to vet the seller. Ask them detailed questions that have to do with the product or team they claim to be part of.

“You know, tell me about the coach,” Chavez said. “Do you go to Olathe Northwest? So maybe trying to get a little information out of that person. It’s totally appropriate to ask for identification.”

Cole did that. She said they knew the same people on a different ONW sports team.

“He seemed to know a lot of people, so I went with it,” Cole said. “It’s crazy.”

Now learning the Papa Murphy’s coupons may be valid but the money did not go to benefit ONW basketball. Cole said it leaves a bad taste in her mouth.

“I just would hope that he would find a different outlet to help support his family if he really is in the midst of some hard times,” Cole said.

FOX4 showed the Lenexa Papa Murphy’s a picture of the coupons Cole bought. A manager says they're valid but hopes the teen stops scamming victims because the store actually does do fundraisers with local schools.

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