Scammers Preying On Citizens Who Want To Help Deputy In Critical Condition

By Tom Mustin

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Residents in Douglas County are not holding back their disgust after the latest phone scam.

“I think it’s sick. It’s disgusting,” said Leslie Fawcett Putman to CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

On Sept. 2 Douglas County Detective Dan Brite was taken to the hospital in critical condition after being shot by a suicidal man in Parker. As he struggles to recover, the community has united to honor the officer. Now scammers are preying on that goodwill by calling residents in Douglas County and Denver trying to solicit money for a bogus fund in the detective’s name.

Detective Dan Brite (credit: Douglas County Sheriff's Office)

Detective Dan Brite (credit: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office)

“I’m surprised they feel good waking up knowing they scammed this wonderful man who tried to protect and serve,” said Putman.

Sgt. Jeff Engel says at least six people have reported calls in the last four days in Douglas County. Some have donated hundreds of dollars. Engel says the sheriff’s office will never ask for money over the phone.

“Whether it be a warrant or for Officer Brite, we are not going to solicit funds,” said Engel.

He says the calls are usually coming from oversees and the callers are professionals.

“There’s going to be some aggressive techniques that will be utilized. Just make sure you’re asking some poignant questions,” Engel said.

Hair stylist Danita Sanchez had her hair and nails painted blue in honor of Detective Brite. She is in contact with the detective’s wife, and has a real fund set up in his name. Some of her clients have been targeted by the scammers.

“You can see our town is really hurting from this and they decide to go in and make some money off it. I think it’s horrible,” said Sanchez.

The sheriff’s office says the bottom line is to never give any money to any organization over the phone.

Meanwhile, Sanchez is asking all metro residents to hang up on imposters trying to capitalize on the misfortune of a brave detective.

“It would be horrible if these people are giving from their hearts to help this poor family, and instead they’re just giving to some jerk who’s trying to take their money,” Sanchez
said.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says other victims have received calls from scammers claiming to be Detective Brite himself.

Anyone with questions or concerns should call the sheriff’s office.

Detective Brite is still in critical condition. Doctors say he is showing “promising progress.”

Through a GoFundMepage, Brite’s family says they need prayers and financial support.

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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