WILMINGTON — Police have charged a woman with going to residents’ doors fraudulently claiming she was collecting money for the local Ho-Ho Shop.
Jessi L. Fannin, 36, of Wilmington but with no specific address, currently faces one count of theft by deception. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Detective Robert A. Wilson of the Wilmington Police Department anticipates Fannin will face more charges. The current count against her relates to an incident in October, but she reportedly was doing the same thing earlier this week.
Wilson said Fannin has admitted to the activity, and moreover was captured by security camera video by a local resident.
Clinton County Ho-Ho Shop Coordinator Kathy Szelagiewicz said Tuesday that due to people already giving money to Fannin, she feels there is “missing money to take care of the children. How many kids will miss out?”
The Clinton County Ho-Ho Shop is a not-for-profit organization that helps bring Christmas gifts to local youngsters who may not have presents. It serves as Santa’s helper for, on average, more than 1,100 children annually.
“She is really stealing from our children of the county,” said Szelagiewicz, who has been the Ho-Ho Shop coordinator for 17 years.
Det. Wilson is asking anybody who gave Fannin money to contact him at 937-382-3833 as he tries to determine the exact amount. He hopes it will lead to the shop receiving some restitution at some point.
If people want to donate money rather than new toys or clothes through the Ho-Ho Shop, they can mail it to the Clinton County Ho-Ho Shop, P.O. Box 470, Wilmington, OH 45177. Or they can call 937-383-HOHO (4646).
Toy donations can be delivered at the shop on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m., or you can call to set up a time and arrange for a person to be there, or if need be Szelagiewic said she will come pick it up.
The shop is located at 2483 U.S. 22/S.R. 3 West just past Naylor’s Furniture (when leaving Wilmington) — stay left in the driveway and head to the little white building. There also is a sign visible from the roadway.
People often customize their gift-giving by receiving a child’s first name, clothing sizes and wish list. That is called sponsoring a child.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.