by Gail P. Montany

St. Johnsbury police have uncovered a confirmed scam/mail fraud operation which has hit at least one person in this area during the past week.

Sgt. Mike Petrow said Jeff Racine, the owner of Purrfect Pets on Railroad Street, alerted the departmentafterreceivinga phone solicitation from the International Union of Police Association on Thursday.

According to Petrow, Racine did not o~igate himself, but told the caller to send him a package and he would examine the material and make a decision. The package arrived Tuesday via United Parcel Service from a Madison Heights, Mich., address. But because it was a COD (collect on delivery) for $150 and could not be opened without paying, Racine refused it and again notified police.

Petrow contacted Mary Sames, director of the Chamber of Commerce in the Madison Heights area, who informed him they had received several calls about the organization. She told Petrow she visited the building to check it out and there was no such suite number and half the building was deserted.

Petrow's efforts have apparently re-activated an FBI investigation. Sames called him back a short time later to report the FBI had been investigating the organization before it ceased operation or went underground about1_-2 years ago. According to the police in the Madison Heights area, the FBI will take up the investigation again.

"Do not, repeat, do not obligate any funds if you are contacted by thisorganization,"warned Petrow. "This is a confirmed scam operation."

Copyright 1997

The Caledonian-Record

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