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Donation boxes in Picayune still a mystery

DONATION SCAM: Since late last year, donation boxes suspected to be part of a scam were placed near various businesses in Picayune. Including this donation box, which still sits on the parking lot of Ryan’s on Frontage Road. Photo by Ashley Collins.

DONATION SCAM: Since late last year, donation boxes suspected to be part of a scam were placed near various businesses in Picayune. Including this donation box, which still sits on the parking lot of Ryan’s on Frontage Road. Photo by Ashley Collins.

Last month, the Item reported on donation boxes suspected to be part of a scam sitting outside various local businesses in Picayune. The boxes were reported to have a symbol on it similar to the Habitat for Humanity logo, the front of each box read, “Recygle (sic) to better humanity,” and included a phone number. Once the Item contacted the local Habitat for Humanity office, the organization said they weren’t affiliated with the boxes, according to previous coverage.

While the owner of the boxes is still unknown, Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of Picayune, Diane Miller said the city has no control over the boxes since they reside on the private property of the businesses.

“We can’t control private property, so it’s up to the business owners,” Miller said. “The only thing the city can do on private property is pick up litter, like the paper flyers put on cars at parking lots, because of the new littering ordinance.”

Currently, a donation box is still sitting in the parking lot of local restaurant Ryan’s.

When the Item spoke to Ryan’s manager, Marc Hostetler, he said he’s been aware of the box for weeks now, but wasn’t sure if it was legitimate or not.

“We want to help our community as much as we can, but we’d like to meet the individual prior to them setting up boxes in our parking lot,” Hostetler said. He added that once he determines who the box belongs to, they’ll decide what to do with it.

Other locations where a box has been seen include, near the Burger King off Memorial Boulevard and the parking lot near Claiborne Hill on Highway 11.

Once again, the Item called the number displayed on the front of the box to get their side of the story, but by press time Tuesday there was no response.