A local organization that helps with the prevention of child abuse and honoring war veterans is warning businesses tonight about a woman using its name to solicit money.
It was about a week ago when a woman entered Mrs. C's Clothing on West Northfield Boulevard for a second time, claiming to be raising money on behalf of the Exchange Club.
Two checks, one for $125 and another for $60, were written to the woman, but according to Murfreesboro police her intentions were to keep the cash.
"I'm at a loss to ever understand the motives that people have in raising money, and to deface a very legitimate project for their own personal benefit," Exchange Club member John Hood said.
The Noon Exchange Club of Murfreesboro only solicits money for its Memorial Day Weekend Field of Flags event honoring veterans.
The Evening Exchange Club of Murfreesboro members only ask for contributions and sponsors for its Celebrity Waiters event.
Most of the money raised goes to the Exchange Club Center to help with the prevention of child abuse in Rutherford County.
"It really bothers me because it misrepresents the work that our organization does locally, as well as nationally for child abuse prevention," Hood said.
The woman told business owners the money would be used for T-shirts and a banner for a fake event called the Exchange Club Marathon ‘12. The woman has approached at least two businesses, but police believe there could be possibly more.
"We don't believe this is an isolated case. If someone is brazen enough to solicit on behalf of the Exchange Club, then its more than likely she has done it at other businesses," police spokesman Sgt. Kyle Evans said.
Police suggest before you donate money to anyone, even a charity, always ask for something in writing and an ID with the organization's logo on it.
Exchange Club members are hoping donations don't drop because of a thief.
"We have established club members, like Don Wright, who has just been elected National Exchange Club President, and many other members of the club (who) businesses can contact to determine the legitimacy of such solicitation," Hood said.
The woman used the name Wilma Hardison. Business owners described her as a heavy-set black woman, about 5'9" tall, with shoulder-length hair. She is also claiming to be affiliated with Murfreesboro Magazine.
Police are urging business owners who feel they may have been taken advantage of by this woman to give them a call at (615) 893-1311.
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