Investigation uncovers prior problems as teens pretend to be football players, ask for donation

Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 23:35:04-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A News 3 investigation is uncovering more problems with teens apparently posing as football players

Wednesday News 3 told you about teens reportedly standing outside of stores, collecting money claiming to be part of the football organization, 757 Seahawks.

Coach Don Garces said several young men are going to shopping centers across Hampton Roads, asking for money to help the organization, but they are not part of the program.

"They don't have on any apparel from the 757 Seahawks nothing what so ever," said Coach Garces. "I'm hurt, I'm very hurt, and angry."

Garces says the group of young men were spotted Tuesday night at the Greenbrier shopping center by a player's parent. They snapped pictures of the fake fliers and the men passing them out.

After News 3 ran the story we heard from Leon Bryant, the President of the Virginia United Youth Football and Cheer organization who said he dealt with the same problem back in November.

Flyer passed out in November

“It just blew us away when they use the same exact format for the Seahawks that they did for the Tigers,” said Bryant, “It's the same young man. The only thing that he's changed is the team.”

He said their organization has dozens of teams and between 1,500 and 2,000 kids involved between the ages of four and 12 years old.

Bryant said authorities were called when they were caught handing out a flyer outside of a store in Chesapeake asking for money for the Tigers football team.

“The police came out and whatever money they had in their pockets at the time they turned over to the coach,” said Bryant.

There is a resemblance in the two flyers. Bryant said he doesn’t think the teens are acting alone.

“I think there's more than one person with how it’s organized like the laminating of it,” said Bryant, “The way it's put together. I would say it's more than a teen involved in it.”

The fundraising and donations are a vital part of these types of organizations.

“These are traveling teams.  They travel all over the Commonwealth. They have field expenses, they have equipment, they have to mark the fields. There's a lot of money involved in for the teams to run for the season,” he said.

Bryant said some of the kids wouldn’t be able to play without the help and generosity of people.

“It's a Christian organization. God provides.  We’re told to turn her cheek and forgive and to which we do but it's very heartbreaking to see somebody go out there and take money from kids that actually do need it,” said Bryant.

"I know everyone has hardships but there are also right ways to go about getting money," said Garces. "Don't do it the wrong way, there are teenager jobs out here you can do. We can put you into those programs."

While Garces doesn't want the young men to get in trouble, he does want them to stop, because their actions are severely hurting the organization and making it harder for them to raise money for the helmets they need for next season.

"For these people to be out here doing it, we start going to these locations and try to talk to the store’s manager and set up a fundraiser outside in that location they [stores] be like 'no, ya'll have already been out here'."

News 3 is not aware of any charges that have been filed.