Charity looking for answers after mystery woman seeks donations

Local charity looking for answers after mystery woman seeks donations for summer camp

DALLAS – It starts with a push of the doorbell.

After that, a mystery woman going door-to-door asking for money to help needy kids gives you her pitch. She’s been knocking on doors collecting cash for at least a year, according to police.

“I’m volunteering with the Family Outreach Center,” she can be heard saying on a home surveillance video.

Thing is, according to the family outreach center in Dallas, she doesn't work for the charity.

“Vulnerable people need help, small organizations need support,” said Jane Collins, director, Family Outreach Dallas. “She’s sabotaging a lot of our community effort.”

“We have 10 kids in the program, ages 8 to 13, that we’re trying to send to a camping retreat to Sky Ranch,” the woman said in that same surveillance video.

That is another statement the charity says is also not true. Family Outreach works with teen and young mothers.

“We work deep in our community to offer support programs. But, we have never sent any kids to camp,” Collins said. “We work with vulnerable families that already have risk factors. We try to connect them to agency and resources.”

The woman even provided an address of a location that does not exist – instead it’s an empty lot behind a construction site.

The mystery woman recently showed up at the home of the charity’s long-time board member, Janie Britton.

“That’s not right,” she said. “Going around collecting money for yourself and not for the organization that you say.”

She then called 911 and followed the woman until she was out of sight.

“I felt bad that I couldn’t catch her,” she said. “We’re all about protecting children at Family Outreach and it really did make me sad. We rely on donations. We really depend on the people out there in the community”

There were multiple branches of Family Outreach several years ago in various parts of the metroplex.

Family Outreach Dallas is the only location still operating. The woman also uses a Tax ID number on receipts she gives to people who donate. That umber used to belong to Family Outreach Richardson which ceased operations in 2014 before merging with Family Compass.

“For a fact, she was not a volunteer for us,” said Carolyn Kennington, former Dallas Outreach Richardson board member. “I feel violated. These good people do it (donate) because they want to help. It’s probably happened more than we know.”

The mystery woman has been operating for at least a year, according to a Dallas Police report filed in March 2016. Police are investigating at this time, no arrests have been made.

Family Outreach is asking anyone with any information to contact Dallas Police or submit a tip online using Case number: 057097-2016.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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