Police warn of park fundraising fraud

Park Police are warning residents not to give money to solicitors claiming to represent the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

According to a news release, solicitors have approached people in public places asking for donations relating to building projects and events in the parks, as well as sports uniforms.

“Our organization does not solicit funds in this manner,” Sgt. Fred McCormick of the Park Police said in the release. “Anything of this nature is considered fraud.”

In December, police arrested 23-year-old Lewis DeShawn Gaston for allegedly pretending to raise money for Farview Park. McCormick said Gaston had been asking for $3-$5 donations and had a signup sheet with about 40 names.

This past week, Park Police received a complaint of a supposed Park Board solicitor at a grocery store. An investigation is on-going.

People approached for park donations are asked to call 911.

Those interested in actually donating to the Park Board should go to the Foundation for Minneapolis Parks, www.mplsparkfoundation.org, or contact recreation center staff.