TROY, Mich. (FOX 2) - It was Saturday night in Troy and people were enjoying dinner at Gran Castor on Big Beaver. Then, a group of kids, ages 10 and 9, were spotted trying to sell candy.
“They were telling customers that reportedly that they were on a football team and they are trying to raise money to go to California,” said Meghan Lehman of the Troy Police Department.
The kids were with 19-year-old Davion Mitchell. The General Manager of the restaurant eventually told Mitchell that he and the kids had to leave.
“He didn’t immediately comply,” Lehman said. “He became aggressive, verbally aggressive.”
Troy Police arrived, gave Mitchell a ticket and ordered the group to leave, but not before talking to the children.
“They said they’re not on a football team and they know it’s a lie they tell in order to get money from people. They don’t get to keep the money and the money goes to the adult they were with,” Lehman said.
But the kids do get a cut. While there is no football team or no trip to California, police say the scam works. The kids told investigators they can make 25 to 50 dollars a day.
“They said if they have a good day where they sell a lot of items, they could get more,” Lehman said.
A few hours after the Gran Castor incident, police got another call. This times from another restaurant, Fago De Chao, which is about a mile away. Mitchell and the kids were at it again.
“Same type of situation but now there was a purse that had been stolen and money was missing and candy was being sold in the restaurant,” Lehman said.
The purse was eventually found in a bathroom stall, but 40 dollars in cash was missing from it.
After the second restaurant issue, Mitchell was arrested and charged with larceny and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“The biggest thing in something like this is that the kids are being exploited and want to make sure they are safe. We talked to kids, contacted the parents and asked did the parents know if this was going on because that is a factor,” Lehman said.
The children were returned to their parents. They were not charged with any crimes.
Meanwhile, Troy Police say they have dealt with this problem before.
“It’s really about these adults exploiting kids and knowing that people can’t say no to kids,” Lehman said.