Bicycle man charity warns against scammer

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A person claiming to be collecting for the well-known charity is not.

Janet Conway happily headed to the Bicycle Man workshop during her lunch break on Wednesday. The Conways are no strangers to the charity, having donated computers in the past. But this year, Janet had her grandsons' spiffed up bikes in tow. They'll make for some Christmas joy for local children.

"I think it means everything for those children to have bikes," said Conway. It gives them (the) opportunity to exercise, mobility."

Ann Mathis, who heads her late husband's charity, said donations have been coming in like crazy since an ABC 11 Together story aired a couple of weeks ago.

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"People (are) using my name without my permission," said Mathis. "I don't like that because it puts a black stain on me."

On Tuesday afternoon, Mathis received a call from a friend at OK Carz on Raeford Road. A man was toting a black bucket and soliciting donations on behalf of the charity. Several employees who know the Mathis legacy said red flags went up right away. The man, in his pitch for donations, said "We're keeping this business going."

"Ain't no we," Mathis said. "It's me and the people that I have working for me. So you know, just be careful of people coming around. I know it's Christmas time and everyone is needy, but I don't have anybody out there collecting money for the Bicycle Man."

"Yes, I need money, but unless I send someone out there...," Mathis trailed off, shaking her head. "I don't have no bucket-toters. I don't."

There is a donation drive on Saturday in Apex. It's happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Peak United Methodist Church on North Salem Street.

For more information on the Bicycle Man charity and its annual giveaway visit http://www.thebicycleman.com/.

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