Man uses Facebook to con people into giving gas

Facebook messages showing Timothy Ash's offer to give Josh Ramsey gas after he claimed to have run out.

ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Good Samaritans say an Ottawa County man took advantage of their generosity to get free gas.

Timothy Ash, one of those generous people, said he saw a Facebook post Wednesday from a man named Josh Ramsey on a Zeeland yardsale page with more than 10,000 members. It said Ramsey had run out of gas and needed help.

“Other people had helped me over the years and I have a giving nature,” Ash told 24 Hour News 8.

So Ash sent  him a Facebook message, asking if someone had brought him gas. Ramsey replied  that no one had. Ash filled up a gas can and drove from Saugatuck to Zeeland to lend a helping hand.

It wasn’t until later he found out four other people also gave Ramsey gas that morning.

People soon started talking on Facebook and figured out what Ramsey was doing: He posted that he needed help, accepted gas from a thoughtful person, left, and then returned to get more free gas from the next person who offered.

Ash saw those posts and started questioning Ramsey’s story. When he checked his Facebook messages, he saw Ramsey’s had been sent from multiple locations, showing he had been driving around at the time he claimed to be out of gas.

It’s not that Ash is upset about the money people spent on the gas, he said, but rather the principle.

“Just the blatant disregard for people and their willingness to give,” Ash said.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office has been notified, but accepting charity isn’t a crime. Ramsey, however, allegedly did something else that is illegal.

When 24 Hour News 8 went to Ramsey’s home, the car described in his Facebook posts was parked in the driveway, but no one answered the door.

That’s because he has been arrested, accused of stealing from a car on the same day Ash brought him gas. The sheriff’s department said it doesn’t believe the theft is related to gas scam.

Ramsey also has a criminal history that includes larceny charges.

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