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Pierce College Warns of Curb-Painting Scam

Pierce College officials are warning residents to be wary of people posing as students and soliciting money for the college in exchange for painting house numbers on their curbs.

The operation is a scam, they said.

The solicitors may be college students, maybe even Pierce students, and they may do the job, but they are not sponsored by any campus group, said Pierce spokeswoman Ina Geller Yates.

The scam has been going on sporadically for more than 20 years, primarily in the Winnetka area, said Capt. Ken Reynolds of the campus police department.

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Every two or three years, the college fields a few calls from dissatisfied customers who say they paid young people to paint house numbers on their curbs, believing that they were helping the institution.

“They could be legitimate students,” Reynolds said. “And they can word [their pitch] so that it’s totally legal. But if they pass it off as a donation or a fund-raiser for the college, that’s a problem.”

Each time a complaint comes in of a botched job, usually wrong numbers painted on or of a broken flower pot, campus officers drive around the area looking for anyone painting curbs or offering the service.

But no arrests have been made.

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Los Angeles Police Department detectives said they had not heard of the scam but noted that it’s illegal for a person or group to misrepresent themselves for financial gain.

Lt. George Rock, detective commander of the LAPD’s West Valley Division, said it was unlikely that legal action, with the possible exception of a civil suit, would be pursued because of the small amounts of the claims.


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