Someone has been knocking door-to-door in the West Main Street area, collecting donations for a family that lost their home in a fire last month. It sounds like a kind-hearted act, but the donations are not making it to the family.
The fire, which firefighters said ignited near a gas space heater, critically injured 19-year-old Cierra Mincey; her daughter Naomi, 2; and 18-month-old Costello Reese, Cierra Mincey's nephew.
All three remain at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at the Doctors Hospital in Augusta.
Linda Carter, whose husband is related to the Mincey family (nine family members lived in the home) said Tuesday someone has been knocking on doors, soliciting donations for the family. However, those donations have not been given to the victims, she said.
"I was at work and my supervisor asked me how the family was doing," she said. "Then she said someone came to her door collecting for the burn victims."
There are several ways the Mincey family is accepting donations, but door-to-door solicitation is not one of those ways, she said.
A fund has been set up at First Southern National Bank in the Mincey family name for anyone who wants to donate. Also, clothing and other household items the Minceys may need can be dropped off at Cleve White Nissan on South Main Street.
Donations can be made to the American Red Cross as well.
Carter said she spoke to police about the scam, and said she knows at least one person responsible. However, no arrests have been made.
Statesboro Police Capt. Scott Brunson said collecting monies and donations for a cause, but not using the donations for that cause, is definitely a form of fraud.
"It absolutely would be prosecuted," he said. "It's not fair to the victims — they're being further victimized. "
Carter agrees."It sickens me how people will profit over somebody else's tragedy," she said. "I don't want anybody else to be scammed by this woman. That's disgusting."
For people to commit such a scam is "feeding off people's emotions," and anyone caught committing such fraud will be arrested, Brunson said.
Family members who lost their home in the fire, along with clothing sizes, are: James Russell Mincey — pants size 38, shirt size large, and shoe size nine; wife Carolyn Mincey —shirt sizes large and extra large, pants size 36, shoe size 8 1/2 to 9; Jacquelyn Mincey — size 36 pants, large shirts, 9 1/2 shoes.
Children: Eric — child's size 10-12, child's shoe size 13; Miracle — child's size 5T,child's shoe size 13; Aliyah — child's size 3T, pull-up style diapers, child's shoe size 9; Kareem —infant size 6-9 months, child's shoe size 2; diapers.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.