CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – A Cleveland pizza shop owner said a man posed as a food bank to try to score free pizza.
23-year-old Mithqal Kona and his family bought Pizza Fan on West 140th Street in Westpark last summer and they try to give back whenever they can.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” said Kona. “I thought it was serious like a donation. I’m like I don’t mind it’s our community but it’s shocking.”
So, when he got a call from someone claiming to be from the food bank at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church on Puritas Avenue he agreed to donate two half-sheet pizzas.
“It sounded legit; the person who came picked it up wasn’t the person who talked to me,” Kona explained. “I guess it was his friend. He sounded professional, very professional.”
He checked with the church and so did 19 News. They told me it was definitely not one from their food bank.
“She was shocked,” Kona recalled. “She was like let me let me go check with our people and she asked the people with the food drive at the church but the food drive, they did it in the morning, so she said somebody’s trying to scam you guys.”
That man was captured on the restaurant’s security cameras. When he came in Kona confronted him and told him he couldn’t give him the pizza because he knew his story was phony.
“He told me, ‘Yeah; they ordered the pizza they told us you guys can donate to us. I’m gonna go double check with them I’ll be back, and he never came back,” Kona said.
All that for less than $30 worth of pizza.
“Honestly, it’s disgusting,” said Kona. “You can’t expect people to give you free stuff if you’re not in need. He looked like he was dressed fine. He came in a nice Dodge car. It was beautiful.”
Kona wanted to share this surveillance video in case this man tries to pull the same stunt at other restaurants.
“I feel like he’s tried a lot of places,” said Kona. “I fell for it I guess I’m too nice of a person. That’s the worst thing just using the church’s name and people who are in need as well it’s not a good thing.”
Kona said after it happened, he called the church back and offered to donate to their actual food bank. He just hopes no one else will fall for this.
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