Near USA gas station at Palm and Hollister
  • Near USA gas station at Palm and Hollister
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

On June 30, Rick noticed five individuals soliciting for donations on Palm Avenue and Saturn Boulevard at south San Diego — a block west of the I-5.

“I saw a young man with a cut milk container and a photo,” he told me on July 7.

The photograph was of someone that allegedly died recently.

“I asked the young man how much they needed and if it was for a burial or a cremation,” Rick said; “he responded that they needed $9000 for a cremation.”

Rick, from south San Diego, said that he's worked in the mortuary and cremation business since 2001.

“Our price is $1,186.25 with a death certificate and urn, and a burial is less than $5,000,” he said. “I gave him my mortuary business card and said I wanted to help; he looked at it, tossed it on the floor and walked towards other cars …. I wouldn’t have put a thought to it had the guy put my card in his pocket.”

Other reports of the solicitors were posted on the Facebook app.

“I was out there just few minutes ago (on June 30), and he is now with a new sign for a funeral for a baby boy,” commented an IB woman. “Last week was a little girl.”

“The same girl has been needing funeral arrangements for years,” responded a man, “it’s all bullshit.”

On the street view of a Google Map search of Saturn Boulevard, there’s a man, woman and dog standing on the traffic island facing the 99 Cents Only store, with a sign that reads: “Anything Helps Us Thank You.”

“No Mike, it’s not them,” said Rick when I showed him the snapshot. “The [solicitors I approached] hang out in front of the USA gas station next to the 99 Cent store.”

Another resident chimed in and said he saw the same solicitors on Broadway near Costco, which is about two miles northeast from the 99 Cent store. “They’ve been collecting for that funeral for years,” he said.

Later on, Rick noticed the solicitors about 10 miles north by the Greenwood Memorial Park and Mortuary. “I [saw] them off of Imperial and the 805, and it made me upset,” he said, “I remembered them [just] being on Palm Avenue.”

“I once had a male and female show me a prayer card for a dead child they needed to do a burial for, and after giving the man my business card, I noticed the date of death was over a year ago.”

“They target the people with hearts and especially the elderly. I don’t knock people’s hustle — but don’t lie about death.”

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


meljones458 July 8, 2019 @ 12:40 p.m.

I AM EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU FOR THIS STORY why did you choose to use the picture of a local homeless man and his dog for this article.. he is a very nice, pleasant man that has never scammed anyone... and his dog minnie is the sweetest dog you've ever met... did you feel that any picture of a random homeless person would be ok?? cuz they won't know?? that's just unethical and lazy on your part... even though the article says he's not the one doing the scamming.. how many people will just read the headline.. see them and just assume they're the scammers.. you're opening him up for a lot of grief he doesn't deserve.. you should put a retraction and an apology on the front page of your "paper".. this is ridiculous... i've known him for several years and he's never been anything but nice and kind to me... he feeds his dog before he ever thinks of himself.. and he's never asked me for a dime.. i've voluntarily given him things for the dog... but he's never asked me to do so... how dare you assume it's ok to use his picture.. he is still a human being... homeless or not.. this is completely unfair of you.. lazy "reporthing".. if ANYONE gives him an grief over this... it should be aimed at the YOU.. not HIM... you should be ashamed of yourselves!!!


AmyT July 8, 2019 @ 1:32 p.m.

What makes you think it's okay to use this picture? Maybe you should have come to the intersection while the scammers were there instead of procrastinating. You are going to find yourself dealing with a hell storm of angry emails and calls to your boss, plus a planned boycott of your paper, it's advertisers organized by me, a homeless activist if you don't remove the photo, print a redaction, and print a personal apology.


AlexClarke July 9, 2019 @ 4:46 p.m.

The picture is of no value to the article as it is not of the perpetrators of the scam.


meljones458 July 11, 2019 @ 10:29 p.m.



Mike Madriaga July 13, 2019 @ 6:26 p.m.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The photo of concern was posted by mistake and swapped out with the correct one. Just so you know -- us writers/reporters do not ultimately select the photos, headlines and photo captions to our articles -- we can although make suggestions. I apologize for not getting to this sooner ~~ Mike


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader