Restaurant employees allegedly called by a woman seeking donations by citing a fake fire said they considered her to be “very convincing” and showed a level of “commitment.”
Linda Alice Morgan, 46, was arrested by Oakwood police Tuesday and charged with two counts of impersonating a public employee and three counts of false statements by telephone solicitor.
Restaurants and other businesses told police that Morgan called the business looking for donations, saying she was from city hall collecting donations.
Smokehouse BBQ manager Kathy Early said Morgan called on Friday and was told the story of the Flowery Branch Police Chief’s daughter-in-law being involved in a fire.
Early said the woman on the phone was “trying to raise money, $600, to give to the family so that they could buy toiletry stuff and stuff that they needed.”
“She called me like three times in a row, but I couldn’t hear her,” Early said. “The phone was real crackly. Finally, the time that I could hear her, she said that she was in the office and running around to every phone trying to get a hold of me.”
Papa Sam’s Sandwich Shop owner Amanda McGee got a call the same day as Smokehouse BBQ and said she heard a similar story about the police chief’s family and a fire.
McGee called the details and other tactics allegedly used by Morgan “elaborate.”
“She actually told me they lost everything, even their Chihuahua,” McGee said.
McGee said she called her dad, the shop’s namesake, who didn’t recognize anybody by the name Linda working in City Hall. After investigating it on her own, Amanda McGee called the city halls of Oakwood and Flowery Branch and started working with police.
“What’s crazier was when she was on the phone with me she was talking to people — probably not actually people — but she was acting like she was in an office. Full-on commitment from her,” Amanda McGee said.
Morgan came by the shop later, police and McGee said, when McGee and her employees were able to write down her license plate number.
Police said they believe Morgan called businesses in Gainesville, Hall County, Flowery Branch and Oakwood, including Curt’s Cafeteria in early July.
Police said Morgan called Curt’s Cafeteria “and requested another donation be made while stating God will bless you more if you help us,” according to Oakwood Police Investigator Todd Templeton.
Morgan remains in the Hall County Jail.
Attempts to reach management at Curt’s Cafeteria for comment were unsuccessful.
Being short-staffed on a busy Friday, Amanda McGee said she probably would have caught on a little bit faster if not so flustered.
“I’ve always trusted my gut,” she said. “I’m a little weary of people in the first place because of how everybody is now.”