Men thought to be scam artists run a legal business - KPTV - FOX 12

Men thought to be scam artists in SE Portland run a legal business

Posted: Updated:
Keith Way Keith Way
Surveillance image released Tuesday Surveillance image released Tuesday
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Investigators now say two men they believed to be posing as city fire inspectors are in fact licensed professionals and run a legal business.

The two men were seen walking into stores along SE Hawthorne just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Owners of local businesses on the street thought the two men were trying to scam them out of money by offering to check their fire extinguishers in exchange for money up front.

But, after researching the two men, investigators say they work for Apollo Fire and Safety.

"We are a new company, and we don't have a lot of money," said owner Keith Way. "I'm the owner and I only have one other employee, in fact yesterday was his first day of training."

"We were walking around to different stores as a way to bring in new business the only way we know how, by hitting the pavement."

The company is operated out of Way's garage in Gresham. He says he was mortified after he found out businesses were turning him away because they thought he was out to scam them.

"I can see why the misconception is there," said Way. "A lot of people do get confused, when someone is coming in to look at fire protection equipment, you know it's a narrow line to walk and not give the impression we are with the fire department."

Portland Fire investigators admit they too believed it was scam at first, in light of recent scams involving people who pose as city fire inspectors.

But on Wednesday, they found out Way's business was certified through the city fire marshal's office in March and allowed to start business in April.

As of Wednesday, March 22, Apollo Fire and Safety was officially registered with the Better Business Bureau, according to documents obtained by FOX 12.

"I really feel for the guy," said Portland Fire Public Information Officer Rich Chatman.

"We understand in an economic climate like this, business is difficult, and sometimes this is the way they get business for a newly started company. In this case, we certainly don't want to damage his reputation or his ability to function."

Chatman says the big mix up is shedding new light on the bigger issue of how business owners can distinguish private companies, like Way's from city fire inspectors.

"Private companies do the actual tests on equipment like fire extinguishers, but then city fire inspectors come in and make sure those tests are done. These are two completely different groups that we are dealing with, and there are a variety of different private companies," said Chatman.

If you ever have concerns, investigators say you should always ask for identification. If you have further questions, a list of certified private companies is posted on the city's fire marshal web page.

Way says once his company gets enough money, they do plan to buy formal uniforms, a company car and business cards, to help with their credibility.

In the meantime, he holds no hard feelings toward investigators or business owners for the mix-up.

"I want people to know we aren't there to hurt anyone, not there to scam anyone, out there to provide service and keep community safe," said Way.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Applebee’s is closing another 60 to 80 restaurants

    Applebee’s is closing another 60 to 80 restaurants

    Saturday, February 24 2018 10:53 PM EST2018-02-25 03:53:36 GMT
    (Wikimedia Commons)(Wikimedia Commons)
    (Wikimedia Commons)(Wikimedia Commons)

    It’s unclear which locations will be closing.

    More >

    It’s unclear which locations will be closing.

    More >
  • Portland bike shops stop buying from company that also sells guns

    Portland bike shops stop buying from company that also sells guns

    Sunday, February 25 2018 1:16 AM EST2018-02-25 06:16:26 GMT

    As a handful of big companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association, some Portland bike shop owners are looking to do the same. The plan is to stop stocking certain brands in their stores, because they said the company that sells them supports the NRA. 

    More >

    As a handful of big companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association, some Portland bike shop owners are looking to do the same. The plan is to stop stocking certain brands in their stores, because they said the company that sells them supports the NRA. 

    More >
  • Florida shooting first responders describe moment they entered school

    Florida shooting first responders describe moment they entered school

    Sunday, February 25 2018 8:37 AM EST2018-02-25 13:37:50 GMT
    Police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich recounts calling his wife and son, who were in the school on the day of the Florida school shooting, after helping to rescue victims.Police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich recounts calling his wife and son, who were in the school on the day of the Florida school shooting, after helping to rescue victims.
    Police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich recounts calling his wife and son, who were in the school on the day of the Florida school shooting, after helping to rescue victims.Police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich recounts calling his wife and son, who were in the school on the day of the Florida school shooting, after helping to rescue victims.

    As more details emerge on the Florida high school massacre that left 17 people dead, some of the first officers who rushed to the scene are sharing their accounts of the moment they first arrived.

    More >

    As more details emerge on the Florida high school massacre that left 17 people dead, some of the first officers who rushed to the scene are sharing their accounts of the moment they first arrived.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.