LIMA ‚?? A man accused of using the name of a dying child to collect money for himself said Friday he is innocent.
‚??I was just trying to help a little girl. That‚??s the way I am,‚?Ě said Christopher Kerby.
Kerby, 37, pleaded not guilty Friday to one count of misdemeanor theft. He is out of jail on bond. Shawnee Township Police said he was soliciting people door to door and at businesses, telling them he was collecting money for a child with terminal cancer.
Kerby said he is an experienced fundraiser who only was trying to help the family of the child. He said he held numerous fundraisers at a job he worked in Wapakoneta without any issues.
Shawnee Township Police Chief Mike Keith said Kerby is a conman using the ruse of a terminally ill child to solicit funds for himself. Police continue to investigate to see how much was involved but Keith said he was collecting it for himself.
Kerby said he took $10 in cash, as well as a check in his name for $15 and a check for $25 in his wife‚??s name. He said he planned to turn the money over to the family of the sick child but later gave it to a local bowling alley where a fundraiser he set up was to be held in the child‚??s name.
Kerby said he met the family during a Halloween trick or treat and struck an agreement to collect for the mother of the sick girl.
Keith said the family had no agreement with Kerby and wants their privacy.
‚??She is dealing with a terminally ill child,‚?Ě Keith said. ‚??She has not received any money from him nor was she promised any.‚?Ě
Kerby, who said he is married with three children of his own, said police set him up by having the township fire department call to offer him a check.
‚??My intentions were going to cash the check and taking the toys I buy to (the child) and her mom,‚?Ě Kerby said. ‚??The next thing I know, I‚??m in jail.‚?Ě
Keith said Kerby committed a crime. He said investigators have found other instances of him collecting money including a raffle the weekend of the Ohio State-Michigan game.
The matter surfaced through an announcement by the local Better Business Bureau warning of a scam.
You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com