E-DEMOCRACY | Scam artist Mark C. Bell hits Seward neighborhood

From: Blaine Garrett Date: Jan 23 20:05

Last night I got a visit from a regional con man Mark Christopher Bell aka. Markus C Bell. Description and mugshots below.

His story is consistently the same: * Works at the church down the street as a janitor. Was on his way home from work and car stalled. Needs a few more bucks for the tow."

My BS sensor went off pretty quickly, but the fact it was below zero out made me second guess my instinct.

I gave him $20 and he promised to come back to pay me back. He actually did return about an hour later, but wanted to write a check to pay me back. I played along. Then he tried to write it for over the amount I gave him and get the cash difference, and I said no. He said his car had successfully been towed to Bethany Lutheran church up the block. Being a fake mechanic, I offered to drive him to his car and see if I could get it started for him. He tried to refuse, but I insisted, being confident at this point it was BS. Once we got over there, he pointed out a white van parked along 25th St. While "digging around for his keys", someone came out of a house and got in the vehicle and drove off. I called his bluff but he fumbled with excuses. I decided to drop him off at Pizza Luce and waited to leave until I saw him enter.

I then went home and googled the name on the check to find he is a wanted scammer and immediately called 911. The dispatch took all the info and said they'd send a squad. However, no one came to take my report so I don't know if they caught him or not. According to the articles below, he has a bunch of priors including burglary and gun charges - but mostly soliciting without a license. It appears he has a warrant for skipping a court date last year.

Here is the description, which is consistent with reports online... Black Male - medium build in his late 40s or 50s. Short cropped salt and pepper hair. Thin mustache. Nicely dressed in a black pea coat and expensive looking light tan leather shoes. Apparently, he is using his own checkbook to write checks. The address listed on the check is Hudson. I have the check still if the police wanted to follow up. I had him write his phone number on there, which I assumed was BS, but then again, he is using his own checks...

Links - same mugshot on each link, however he looks the same + pencil mustache

http://goldenvalley.patch.com/articles/crime-alert-in-golden-valley-call-police-if-you-see-this-man

http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/127629818.html?refer=y

http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/MPLS-856be

http://stlouispark.patch.com/articles/alleged-panhandler-may-have-moved-on-to-minneapolis

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/03/29/police-search-for-suspected-scam-artist/

If the cops picked him up, hopefully he won't be hitting the neighborhood again. If not, be on the look out.

From: Peter Fleck Date: Jan 23 22:10

I got burned by the guy. He was pretty convincing. You got a check, Blaine; he let me hold his Wisconsin drivers license. I still have it and it also has a Hudson address. I suppose I should call the police too.

Peter

From: Blaine Garrett Date: Jan 24 18:07

Quick update as I'm not sure how many of the emails on this topic made it to the list since the number of times you can post are limited.

Last night around 6pm, Kathy Rosenbear on 24th Street was approached by this guy with the same story. She presumably gave him money and called 911 when he left. The police drove by shining their lights, but didn't spot him. He then returned with his followup check scam and she shewed him off.

It sounds like at least 2 other people have been hit up by this guy in the last 48 hours - 3 total just along 24th St between Franklin and Evergreen. Time of these incidents were 2pm, 6pm, and (me) 10pm.

It also sounds like he has an accomplice who parks around the corner during the initial stop. I believe this guy is also testing locked doors before he knocks the first time around.

I've forwarded all this info to the block club for Evergreen - many of whom are not on this list. If you have an email list for your block club, please let your neighbors know.

Be on the look out and keep your doors locked. If you see this guy, call 911.

Read the full thread here.

From: Kathryn Rosebear Date: Jan 24 00:01

Fellow meeting this description, saying he was from church with car stalled, just at our door. I called 911.

Kathryn Rosebear

From: Kathryn Rosebear Date: Jan 24 00:45

Just heard from another neighbor - in response to my "heads up" call - who also got taken yesterday for an "embarrassing amount." Police went by with their light on just a few minutes ago. I expect it is easy to duck them since you can see them coming though.

Kathryn Rosebear

From: Bob Roscoe Date: Jan 24 01:51

Now that the Seward History book has an extended time now, how about a Seward Reality show? Mr. Salt and Pepper is a great candidate

Read the full thread here.

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    He was at my house

    I live around the corner of 26th ave S and 22nd st. He was at my house on Jan. 26th at 7pm.  He was also at a friend's at 645pm the same night. My friend lives on 25th.  We did not give him any money and he had his same classic car broke down story.

    Markus Bell

    This man stole several purses out of the basement of a church in South Minneapolis during a yoga class at 6 a.m. last October. He forged a number of checks, persuaded people to cash them and was only arrest after cashing nearly 6,000.00 worth of checks. It is astounding that by late January he was out again, given his history and the value of the forgeries.