LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Crime Stoppers is not asking the public to find a criminal this week. Rather, they are telling people not to buy advertisements from a company that they say is using their name to deceive the Lufkin area.
According to Crime Stoppers and the Lufkin Police Department, the company out of Mansfield, Texas, has been selling advertising magnets, claiming that they are for the Lufkin Police Department.
Sandy Barringer at Servicemasters in Lufkin said she received one of these calls. According to Barringer, the company, Big T Branding, stated they were calling on behalf of the Lufkin Police Department and explained to her how the magnet would be used by LPD.
"It would be four events a year, where they pass out these magnets to the public," Barringer said.
Barringer said she spoke with her boss and decided to contact LPD directly.
"And I said, 'So you are not authorizing this guy to do this?" Barringer said. "She said, 'No, and, I am so glad you called.'"
Barringer was told that the advertising company had sent LPD complimentary magnets two years ago and nothing else.
JB Smith, the executive director of Crime Stoppers and an LPD detective, said he spoke with Big T Branding about his concerns about what this was doing to the community.
"I don't want their generosity, to number one, go to waste," Smith said. "But, number two, be tainted in some way so that future endeavors for these organizations who are raising funds or do need support is somehow hampered by this deception that has happened."
Smith added that he was worried that LPD's seeming association with the private sector could appear in a bad light.
"We do business with private businesses, but we don't endorse those businesses," Smith said. "And, our name being put onto the advertising with theirs can be seen as that endorsement."
A representative from Big T Branding stated they never claimed to be selling on behalf of LPD, but that they would stop selling the advertising magnets.