COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Columbus Police are searching for a man who was going door-to-door claiming to be collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Program. The charity helps soldiers hurt in battle. Investigators say Joseph Earl Stewart wasn't collecting for a charity, but himself.
According to a receipt book collected by detectives, the incidents started in June.
"There's about 300 receipts in there," said Detective Erik Stoddard with the Columbus Police Fraud and Forgery Unit. He figures Stewart scammed people out of thousands of dollars.
"It's $5 to $50 from most people, but then I've got receipts for $100, $200, I've got one receipt for $500 in there," he said.
Many of the receipts are for businesses. They are from all over the city. Stoddard expects that as the media picks up the story he'll hear from neighboring jurisdictions that have seen the same thing.
"He's been all over the place," Stoddard said.
Grove City Police say Stewart, who used the name Charles or Chuck, was impersonating a police officer there. He was trying to collect donations there for a fund that helps injured police officers.
Police caught up with Stewart in September after getting a number of complaints about him soliciting. They took his receipt book, but didn't charge him at the time. Now he faces charges of identity theft and impersonating a police officer among others.
Stewart has a lengthy criminal record, but none of his past crimes were committed in Columbus.
Detectives don't just want Stewart, but they also want to talk with his victims. They're asking anyone approached by Stewart to call (614) 645-4545 and ask to talk with the detective handling the Wounded Warrior scam case.