OMAHA (kptm) - We hear about scams all the time. Most often individuals are the victims but in a recent case a group was targeted, the Shriners. The loss was minimal, but the Shriners say the damage could be devastating.
Charles Lovell has been a Shriner for 13 years. When he joined, he was searching for something rewarding and the fraternity fulfilled what he was looking for, "if you want something more in your life that is rewarding, the Shriners is a great place to do that at," Lovell says.
But he was surprised to find out that someone within the membership was taking advantage of the system. They had stolen dozens of circus tickets and sold them for profit on Craigslist. "We're all volunteers and so our system is not perfect. We're going to learn from this lesson and maybe come up with a better way to account for our tickets," he says.
Lovell says the Shrine Circus is their primary fundraiser throughout the year, but now that they've been the victims of an online scam, he says they need your donations now more than ever. "To have Shriners, we have to have a place for them to come. And to do that, we have to be operational and that's what the circus is about, is for us to gain funds to stay operational to keep this building open, to keep the lights on, so that the Shriners have a place to come," Lovell says.
The organization is best known for its charity, The Shriners Hospitals For Children. They raise money for local hospitals and transport children in need of surgery. Lovell worries this loss could effect their contributions. "Obviously us being victims of this particular thing did not affect the children directly, so that's something that we can take solace in, it's not directly affecting the children. It is affecting us as the volunteers that help the children, but we'll be none the less affected by it when it comes to taking care of our kids," he says.
A group of volunteers shocked by deception, looking for help from the community to continue to save lives.
The Shriners are looking for donations. They plan to have a fundraiser on St. Patty's day. They'll be serving holiday corn beef and cabbage to the public from 11am to 7pm. They will also be handing out the meals through their drive-thru. In addition, they will be delivering any orders of 10 or more to local businesses. All the donations will go towards operational funds. You can also make a donation online at tangieronline.org.