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Police Chief Catches Con Man in Cigar Store

A dapper young man in a green-banded hat worked a clever scheme in Jackson and Josephine counties, taking advantage of 1913 technology.

The con-game, involving several hotels in Southern Oregon, caused the Jackson County sheriff to issue a warrant for a well-dressed man in his 30’s posing as a hotel guest.  The scam had three parts. 

First, the man would get the name of a hotel guest who was away from his room.  Second, he would phone the hotel keeper, identify himself as the guest, say he was expecting a collect-on-delivery package, and ask that it be charged to his account.  Finally, an accomplice would show up at the hotel with an empty package, collect payment for it, and disappear.

When the authentic guest showed up, he would deny he had ordered the package and refuse to pay the COD charge.

The con man slipped up when he tried to work his scam from a telephone in a Grants Pass cigar shop while the police chief was there looking for a good cigar.  The chief promptly arrested the dapper young man and checked him into another kind of hotel, the county jail.


Source: "Game of C.O.D. Gets Youth Into Trouble." Rogue River Courier 10 Oct. 1913 [Grants Pass Ore.] : 2. Historic Oregon Newspapers. Web. 2 Oct. 2016. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1913-10-10/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1846&index=5&date2=2016&words=Chief+McLane&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&lccn=sn96088281&proxdistance=5&rows=20&ortext=&proxtext=&phrasetext=Chief+McLane&andtext=&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.