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Suspected scam actually legitimate

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Skepticism this week about a curb-side painter named Samuel E. Sallee proved to be unwarranted.

A man and young woman roaming the Pioneer Place neighborhood off North Talley Road on Monday seeking $20 to paint home addresses on curbs are legitimate business owners visiting from Kettering, Ohio, Columbus police said Tuesday.

Several Columbus homeowners reported Monday that the duo were soliciting donations door to door.

Columbus police spokesman Lt. Matt Myers said officers initially feared some sort of scam, especially since a crime suspect with the exact same name — Samuel E. Sallee — has been in the news headlines lately. That Samuel Sallee, currently an inmate in the Brown County Jail, pleaded guilty to a charge of battery on Monday morning in Nashville.

On Tuesday morning, Sam Sallee of Kettering, Ohio, walked into police headquarters and said he wanted to clear things up and clear his name.

The Ohio man said he has taken to the road this summer with his 14-year-old daughter to paint addresses in reflective paint on curbs to raise a little extra money to pay family medical bills.

“We’re planning to be in town two weeks,” Sallee said.

The Ohio man Sallee and his daughter paint a green background on homeowners’ curbs and then add house numbers in white paint. “We put reflective glass beads in the white paint so the numbers can been seen clearly at night,” he said.

Myers said the Ohio man should have come into police headquarters to sign a solicitation agreement with the City of Columbus before starting work. He did that Tuesday morning.

The Ohio painter said he’s done curb painting off and on in Ohio and Indiana since the early 1990s. His business had been dormant a while, but with a 5-year-old son ill recently, he needed to raise extra money “to get us through the rest of the year.”

Myers said police have determined that Sam Sallee of Ohio isn’t soliciting donations but doing actual work for a $20 fee that’s collected only after the curb gets painted.

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