Students get flimflammed


Brandon Zeris, Editor-In-Chief

Justin Kubiak thought he was doing a good deed last Tuesday when he bought a set of books from two women claiming to be Pitt-Johnstown students.

The pair said they were fundraising for a class and said proceeds would go to sick kids at a Pittsburgh hospital, according to Kubiak.

But, it appears he and other students are victims of a scam.

Kubiak said they were a convincing pair. One was black, the other was white with red hair. Each was about 5 foot 5 inches, weighing about 160 pounds, according to Kubiak.

The two made their pitch to him in his Bloomfield Apartments residence along Theatre Drive and told Kubiak he would have a chance to cancel the order within three days, if he wanted.

“They told me the company selling the books would give me a call, and I could cancel the order,” the UPJ senior said. “They said that, by signing up now, I would be helping them out because they would get credit for making the sale.

“I went to the ATM, took out $120 and gave it to them,” he said.

Kubiak said he realized he was swindled when he looked at his sales receipt and noticed that the two didn’t keep their copy.

“They had all the proper fundraising materials and everything … they had it down to a science. They even put a sticker on my door to show other salesmen that I’d already been sold to.”

The other salesmen are likely those referred to in an email Pitt-Johnstown Housing and Residence Life Director Mark Dougherty sent to residents Wednesday, notifying them of three theft reports by deception around 7:30 p.m. last Tuesday at Hemlock Hall.

The Hemlock victims said two white men sold book sets to students under the pretense that profits would benefit Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital.

Dougherty said one suspect was about 6 feet 2 inches with long red hair. The other was about 6 feet tall with long brown hair, green eyes — with his left being lazy — wearing a gold rope chain with dog tags hanging from it.

They drove a gold ‘90s GMC Yukon with a California license plate with 20-inch rims and low-profile tires.

Dougherty said  no salesmen or solicitors are approved to be on campus and to not purchase anything from them.

Kubiak said he filed a report with Richland Township police, who, as of Friday, were unable to be reached for comment.

UPJ Campus Police said they are currently investigating the matter.