LIMA — A man arrested in a scam police said may have netted thousands of dollars proclaimed his innocence at his first court appearance.
“I was not soliciting for no baseball team,” said Joshua A. Hinshaw, who is charged with felony theft.
Judge William Lauber of Lima Municipal Court told Hinshaw to not say anything, warning the 22-year-old Texas man anything he said could be used against him.
Lauber set bail at $100,000 and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Friday. The judge told him if he is released he cannot leave the area and must live at a local address.
Hinshaw told the judge he is from Dallas and sells magazines. He said he did something wrong but did not elaborate. He said he was working his job, which involves traveling the country as a salesman.
“I know what I was doing is wrong,” he said.
Hinshaw told the judge he had no money to hire an attorney. He said he had $1,100 of his own money in his pocket when he was arrested. He told the judge he wanted the money back.
Hinshaw was arrested Friday after someone alerted Shawnee Township Police Department that a man was going around saying he was collecting money for the Shawnee High School baseball team. He said the money would be used for a trip to Florida, said Chief Mike Keith of the Shawnee Township Police Department.
“The person who followed them and called police said something just didn’t seem right,” Keith said.
Hinshaw was with another person going door to door in the township near Fort Amanda Road and Hawthorne Drive. The other person has not been arrested but investigators believe they know his identity, Keith said.
Investigators believe Hinshaw was part of a group of people, perhaps 15 to 20, who came to Lima in three to four vans to target the area with various scams. Other police agencies contacted Keith with reports of scams in the area, such as Cridersville and the 2800 block of West Market Street, Keith said.
The scam also appears to stretch into other states, Keith said.
Another scam involved the sale of magazines, he said.
In all solicitations, Keith said the men used high pressure and guilt tactics to try to solicit money. For example, they were asked people why they didn’t care for children if they didn’t want to donate, Keith said.
Hinshaw had more than $1,000 in cash on him when he was arrested, Keith said.
Hinshaw said he was associated with a business, Midwest Circulation LLC Magazines, Keith said.
A township detective searched the Internet for the company and found numerous complaints against the company, Keith said.
The case remains under investigation and police continue to have people called in saying they were scammed.