There’s something about the Christmas season that brings out the best in people…and the worst in people.
When Mary Shaw, a Maine restaurant owner, received a Facebook message from a person she didn’t know asking her to help collect gifts for a family in need, she didn’t respond with skepticism. In the spirit of the season, she sprang into action, calling on customers to help in her efforts.
The person, calling herself Sara Lacross, claimed to be asking on behalf of a nearby New Hampshire family. She further went on to say that the family had battled back from homelessness but, both the mother and one of the children had been diagnosed with cancer.
Ms. Shaw said that she and her customers donated food, toys and gift cards — enough to fill two trucks. Also, Ms. Shaw personally bought some children’s furniture for the family.
Right before Christmas, Mary Shaw took the gifts to the specified residence and, after a conversation with one of the neighbors, soon realized she’d be scammed. It turns out that Sara Lacross didn’t exist. The person that the drive was supposed to help, Jodie St. Pierre, had actually assumed this identity to get gifts for herself.
She has been charged with theft by deception.
Jodie St. Pierre says that she assumed this identity because was too embarrassed to ask for help, though this does little to explain why she picked a random stranger as her target.
Sadly, stories like this only make it harder on honest people who need help.