GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Inside Famous Dave’s BBQ in Grandville, the general manager’s name is on the glass door — and for good reason. Jason Schepers has been running the place for a long time.
But just weeks ago, he received perhaps the strangest call in his 13-year career.
“We get a phone call here from a guy wanting me to pay him back some money that I supposedly borrowed from him,” Schepers recalled.
As the caller explained, a man was on the streets wearing a Famous Dave’s work shirt, saying he was Jason and that he had run out of gas. The man was asking for cash, promising to pay it back and giving out the restaurant’s number.
“It’s very unsettling,” Schepers described.
And it wasn’t just once. Over the past few weeks, the restaurant has taken about half a dozen calls describing the same scam.
People have reported the encounter at the intersection of Michigan Street and Diamond Avenue NE in Grand Rapids, in front of Spectrum Butterworth Hospital and in front of the Woodland Mall, Schepers explained.
Schepers filed a reported with Grandville Police Department, but said this isn’t much of a mystery. Based on descriptions from the people who were scammed, Schepers is confident it’s a former employee — a man fired just weeks ago over concerns of inappropriate behavior and possible drug use — who’s responsible. Schepers said one of the callers reporting the scam even identified the former employee after seeing his picture.
24 Hour News 8 is not identifying the man, a former shift manager at the restaurant, because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime in the case.
He denied the allegations in a phone call with 24 Hour News 8.
“Oh. That can’t be,” the man said when questioned about the scam.
He instead blamed a roommate who he claimed had stolen his information.
“I honestly don’t know but, like I said, it wasn’t me,” the man said when pressed.
Schepers is confident the former employee is responsible, but was told by investigators it may be a difficult case to pursue given a lack of hard evidence.
He was told he can press charges if he wanted.
Most of all, he said, he just wants the scamming to stop.
“I’ve worked in this place for 15 years, put a lot of heart and soul into it,” Schepers said. “And for somebody to come to take my name or my business name at all… you don’t sleep normal.”