BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man accused of scamming people out of money in a "Pop-A-Lock" scam has been arrested.
There have been numerous reports across Baton Rouge in the past year of people approaching others and asking for money to help pay "Pop-A-Lock" to get the keys out of their vehicle. In most, if not all, of the cases, the people asking for money do not actually have a vehicle with keys locked inside, deputies said.
"Fortunately a victim did come forward and they were able to charge him, SAID Casey Hicks with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's office.
"We're hearing that he's been around town and different areas doing the same thing and so we're asking that if anyone out there that recognizes him and that maybe was taken advantage of by him contact the sheriff's office at 389-5000."
On Wednesday night, a woman reported she was approached by Gerald Rester, 28, of Baton Rouge outside of Chimes Restaurant on Coursey Boulevard. She says Rester asked her for money to pay Pop-A-Lock to get the keys out of his vehicle. The woman says she gave Rester $20. However, according to the police report, she "later learned it was a scam and found out he has done this in the past and has asked numerous people for money for the same thing."
A deputy working extra-duty at Chimes went outside, spotted Rester, and told him to stop. "After being advised to stop, the subject fled on foot running down Coursey Boulevard," the police report says. "It should be noted that there have been numerous reports of this subject using the same scam in Baton Rouge over the last few weeks," the deputy wrote in his report.
Paul Sewall owns the Pop-A-Lock locations here in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area. Sewall says his company is often used by people to perpetrate scams and schemes.
"We're a nationwide name," Sewall said.
"Car door unlocking is kind of an emergency situation for people and people get a lot of traction when they ate trying to scam people with that sort of thing because it is- viewed as somewhat of an emergency situation and people want to help."
The sheriff's office says if more victims come forward they will work to upgrade or increase the charges Rester now faces.
"A lot of times people are reluctant to come forward with this information or they think it was just $10 or $20 but really when they come forward we're able to get these people off the streets," Hicks said.
"At least get them to stop doing this where they take advantage of people."
Rester was charged with theft, resisting an officer and vagrancy and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish prison.