The Lexington police department is asking for victims to come forward after the arrest of five apparent scam artists Friday.
Anthony T. Lackman, Jeremy L. Albertson, Tyler M. Smith, Henry S. Siegman and Justin C. Davidson are charged with theft by deception, engaging in organized crime and peddling without a permit.
The men were going door to door saying they worked for a company called Academic Marketing Group, claiming to be selling $40 children's books and promising the books would be delivered later, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said. They also gave customers the option of having the books delivered to children's charities.
"The suspects made these sales with no intention of honoring the transaction," police said in a news release.
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Now police are trying to find out the scope of the scam by asking Lexington residents who think they have been defrauded by the men to call police and make a report.
A resident of Glen eagles subdivision called police after becoming suspicious when two of the men were peddling books in the neighborhood Friday evening, Roberts said.
Officers caught up with the men and took them to headquarters, where they admitted to the scam and gave officers the names of the other men, who were staying at a hotel near Interstate 75, Roberts said.
Albertson and Smith face additional charges of unlawful transaction with a minor for allegedly buying alcohol for people younger than 21, according to court documents. Roberts said much of the money the men collected was spent at local strip clubs.
Investigators think the men conducted the same scam in Somerset and possibly other states. The men are from Arizona, New Jersey or Alabama.
Anyone who fell victim to the alleged scam is asked to contact the police's Major Violators Unit at (859) 258-3700 or Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at (859) 253-2020.