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Cedar Rapids Police Warn Public of Scam

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids police are warning the public of a scam involving a man asking for money to help pay for a plane trip back to Lebanon.

Officials responded to a report of a man going to area churches and asking for money on Tuesday, under the ruse that the man's immediate family and close friends were killed by an IED device at the Syrian-Lebanon border, a news release said.

He was requesting money for a plane trip back to Lebanon to attend the funeral. The man had researched and printed information that referenced the costs of flights and the church in Bethlehem where the funeral was going to take place, officials said.

After officers interviewed the subject, he admitted he had a major drug addiction and was using the money to purchase drugs, the news release said. The man reportedly approached several churches, but only one mass congregation is known to have given money to him.

The subject is a described as a 32-year-old man of Lebanese descent, around 5 feet 11 inches tall and 200 pounds. He has dark hair, a goatee, glasses and wears a longer black coat.

Anyone who is approached by this man with a similar story is asked to call police at (319) 286-5491.

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