Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Don Tollefson storage units searched ahead of auction

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Sports television anchor Don Tollefson´s storage units at Public Storage on North Columbus Boulevard will go up for auction on Monday. (image via google maps, staff)
Sports television anchor Don Tollefson's storage units at Public Storage on North Columbus Boulevard will go up for auction on Monday. (image via google maps, staff)
Story Highlights
  • Don Tollefson’s storage units were searched ahead of today's auction.
  • Detectives were looking for "any evidence of the crime or evidence that he kept the proceeds of his illegal activity."
  • A deputy district attorney wouldn't say if authorities took anything from the units.

Investigators have searched the Philadelphia storage units rented by former sportscaster Don Tollefson ahead of today's auction of the units' contents.

Officials from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office searched the two units and Ford Explorer belonging to Tollefson -- charged with scamming at least 100 people out of more than $100,000 meant to go to charities -- on Friday morning. 

Detectives were looking for "any evidence of the crime or evidence that he kept the proceeds of his illegal activity" at the Public Storage facility located at 456 N. Columbus Blvd., said Ryan Hyde, a deputy district attorney.

Hyde wouldn't say if authorities took anything from the units.

More coverage
  • Is $100,000 only the beginning?
  • The contents of the units and the Explorer are being put up for auction this morning at the storage facility. The auctions are held when units go into delinquency because their owners fail to pay rent during a two-and-a-half-month period.

    Anyone can bid on the content of the units and the vehicle.

    Hyde said he didn't know if the auction would proceed as planned, and no one from the facility could immediately be reached this morning. Hyde said the District Attorney's Office has completed its probe of the units.

    Tollefson, 61, was arrested last week on charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, violations of the Pennsylvania Charitable Organizations statute and other offenses.

    Prosecutors allege that the well-known 6ABC and Fox29 sportscaster purported to raise money for charitable organizations that included the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, the Salvation Army, the Brad Fox Foundation and Tollefson's own charities, but the funds never made it to the organizations.

    Donors bought game-trip packages from Tollefson, believing that the money would go to charity. But the promised trips fell through and the organizations often weren't paid, prosecutors say.

    Tollefson's own charities weren't registered in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or with the federal government as 501(c)(3) nonprofits, meaning they lacked the tax-exempt status he claimed they held, officials say.

    Tollefson remains jailed, unable to post bail, according to court and prison records. His bail was originally set at $250,000 but later reduced to $10,000.

    A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 6, court records show.


    Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

    Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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