A scam artist last reported working the south end of downtown Minneapolis now appears to be focusing on the north end. Several incidents of “theft by swindle” have been reported concerning a man who calls himself “Marcus Johnson.” The suspect is a black male, 5’10″ to 6’4″ tall, medium build, medium complexion, age in the mid-40s, and short-haired. He claims to work for UPS, to be new to Minneapolis, and to need money to retrieve his car from the impound lot.

A recent victim reports:

“He recently has moved here from California. He is very adamant that he is a Christian (shows you his bracelet) and that he is a proud man and ashamed to have to stoop to this level. Keeps saying, ‘This is not a scam!’ He claims his car has been towed and he needs $40 cash to get it out of the impound lot (evidently he has anywhere from $52 to $60).

“He says he will repay you by writing you a check when he gets his car out. He left his wallet and everything in his car. He claims to have an account with TCF that he just opened and the funds are not available because he just opened the account. His name is Marcus Johnson he is approximately 6′ 4″. He wears oval wire-rimmed glasses. He apologizes profusely for having to do this and continues to say he is an honest Christian man. He offers both his home and work number. He claims to be employed by UPS as a night shift supervisor and has been with the company for 12 years. ”

The Minneapolis Police Department reports:

The following is a summary of a reported theft by swindle on August 11:

Victim states suspect approached her as she was walking in the skyway from the Rock Bottom Brewery to the LaSalle Ramp, where her vehicle was parked.

The suspect told the victim that his car had been impounded and that he recently moved to town and didn’t know anyone and needed a ride to get his vehicle out of the impound lot. The suspect told the victim that he worked at UPS and gave her the name listed. The victim agreed to give him a ride and as they were driving he asked her to drive him to the check- cashing place on Lake Street so he could get cash to get his car out. The victim states that she drove the suspect to a check-cashing place somewhere on Lake Street (north side of Lake Street).

The suspect was unable to get cash, so he asked her to if he could use one of her credit cards. The victim states she went inside with the suspect and they attempted to use one of her credit cards to obtain cash but were unable to. The victim states the suspect then asked her if they could go to a cash machine at Rainbow Foods at the above location. The victim states once they arrived there the suspect stated, “Give me your card,” and she handed him the listed credit card. Suspect swiped the credit card listed through the ATM machine and it didn’t work. Suspect told her to hold on and walked over and talking to the manager. Victim states suspect didn’t give the card back and she forgot about it. Victim states the manager wasn’t able to do anything, so the suspect asked her to drive him back downtown, which she did near the same ramp they had left. Victim discovered the card missing the next day. Suspect used the card at unknown locations before the victim canceled it.

If you are approached by a man fitting this description who gives a similar story, or if you see any suspicious person(s) loitering or lurking on or around, campus at any time, immediately call the St. Thomas Department of Public Safety at (651) 962-5555. Please note the physical description of the suspect(s), the last known location and direction of travel. The sooner that Public Safety is notified of a suspicious person, the better chance of apprehension. We urge you to be pro-active and to help prevent crime.

If you have any information about these crimes, you are urged to call the Department of Public Safety at (651) 962-5100 and/or the Minneapolis Police Department.