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ALBERT LEA, MN – Wednesday afternoon the Albert Lea Police Department was informed that someone was fraudulently soliciting money.
Albert Lea residents were caught off guard by the news.
“I actually didn’t know what to make of it when I first saw it,” said Stef Oftedahl.
He said it does not surprise him that people have given the boy money.
“It’s very possible I’d hand him a couple of bucks, be it the YMCA, be it soccer, be it whatever,” Oftedahl said.
In this case it was the YMCA.
Authorities say that they were told a 10-year-old boy was soliciting money for a YMCA camp. He was using a flyer that had the YMCA logo and name on it.
Those at the Albert Lea Y say there is no such flyer.
“We have no fundraising where students are going out selling anything or even asking for money,” said Dennis Dieser, Executive Director of the Albert Lea Y.
What the boy was doing did not seem too out of the ordinary at first, but then people started getting suspicious.
After getting money from people in area parking lots, authorities say the child was then seen returning to a nearby van.
Similar occurrences have happened in parking lots of convenience stores, fast food restaurants and retail stores over the last two weeks.
Those with the police department and the Albert Lea Y just want to find out who is doing this.
“We’ve had no contact with them; we have no idea who it is. But if in fact, that child did need help with the camp we would ask the family to come here and ask for that help,” Dieser said.
Authorities said they recently found out that similar incidents were taking place last fall as well.
They are asking for your help in identifying the 10-year-old and the adults who are likely in the van during the incidents. If you have any information you are asked to call the Albert Lea Police Department at 507-377-5215.