Thieves Try to Cash In on Good Hearts in the Midlands

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By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- For three days firefighters are collecting money to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Money raised from the drive, in part, helps children attend summer camp each year where, for one week, they can be just a kid.

"It's from the heart," says Craig Williams, who donated to the MDA Boot Drive.

But not everyone is in the giving spirit, instead fire officials say this week they found imposters trying to cash in.

"That's rude, that's just something, you know, that's not appropriate," says Helen Welch, who donated to the MDA Boot Drive.

The incident reportedly happened Monday on Broad River near I-20 and Farrow Road at Beltine Boulevard.

"That's sorry," says Williams

Crandall Sims reporting,"We're told when firefighters saw the individuals and went over to ask what they were doing, the imposters ran off."

But with a fundraiser meant to help children, there are things you can do to make sure your money is going to the right place.

First, firefighters will be wearing safety vests, they'll have a firefighter's boot in hand and in some cases, but not all, you will be given an MDA sticker showing your support.

As for the imposters, ABC Columbia News found out if they are caught, they could be charged criminally.

According to the Columbia Police Department, imposters could be charged with impersonating an official, which is a misdemeanor and defrauding a charity, which is also a misdemeanor -- for the first offense. A second offense of defrauding a charity is a felony, according to the law.

In the meantime, MDA and the Columbia Fire Department hope you will continue to fill the boot and help out, because there children who need it.

The MDA boot drive will end Friday, March 22, 2013.

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