Don’t Trust Shelby Peele
AKA Shelby Lynn, aka Shelby Sandidge…
*****UPDATE: Apparently she is running her new show under the name “Michelle Cook”, the show is called “Craft Show” April 10th at the Harrison Road Community Center, if she has not cashed your check, put a stop payment on it!!!!*******
Let’s get one thing straight, I’m not a gullible person. This lady is just that good.
For those of you who do the craft show circuit please read and take note. There is a craft show con out there, and I (along with 10 other vendors) fell victim to it this weekend.
Back in early January I found an online listing for a craft show called March of Hearts in Fredericksburg, VA. There were supposedly 40+ vendors scheduled to come. It stated that it would benefit the Children’s Cardiology department at VCU hospital. The price was very affordable, $55 for a 6×6 space, a table and 2 chairs. The ad promised advertisements in the paper, on the radio, as well as signs and posters on the street. The event was to take place at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House from 9am-3pm.
It all seemed so legit. There was a crafter’s contract, rules for the show, heck you could even order a T-Shirt for the event if you wanted (thank goodness I didn’t). So, I signed up and sent in my check.
A couple weeks before the event, I get an email saying the Fredericksburg Hospitality House has had a pipe bust and the show is being moved to the Country Inn & Suites. Makes sense as a second choice venue I guess.Two days before the show I get an email with the table arrangements. There are only 17 tables listed, which is way less than the 40+ the ad originally listed. I have a slight panic attack, but everyone convinces me it’ll be alright. So the day of the show arrives, I pack up the van and my mom and I make the drive to Fredericksburg. As we are nearing the venue, we notice there isn’t a single sign. Nothing in the median, nothing on the hotel’s marque, nothing even on the door of the venue. A little odd, no?
When we walk in to the room, we ask if anyone has seen Shelby Peele, the event coordinator. But no one, not even the vendors who had been there since the start of set up (at 7am) had seen her. One vendor said Shelby told her she had a family emergency and wouldn’t be able to make it but her friend would be there for cover for her. At 9am, the start of the event, Shelby’s “friend” (who probably got a cut) Stephanie shows up. When we complained there were no signs, she called Shelby. She said that there was an error at the printers and she just had them reprinted and was putting them up on Route 1 (where the venue was) and will be here right after. So, my mom proceeded to drive down route one, in both directions, and saw no sign of Shelby or any signs for the event.
By 10am, there were still no customers, Stephanie can’t answer any questions, and Shelby has been “on her way” for over an hour. Something was clearly wrong. We had been scammed and we were all slowly realizing it. We realized we all had paid different amounts for our booths. Checks had all been made out to Shelby, but sent to 2 different addresses. I checked the VCU’s charity event calendar on my phone, and there was no mention of the “March of Hearts” Craft show. A fellow vendor called the Fredericksburg Hospitality House and there had never been a reservation for the space, nor was there a pipe burst. We bought a copy of the Fredericksburg Freelance Star, and there were no ads; not even a $5 one-liner in the “Craft Shows and E vents” Section.
Then anther vendor called the non-emergency police line. She introduced herself as a crafter in a local show and before she could explain what she was calling about, the dispatched recited our situation to a “T”. She said “Let me guess, you signed up for a craft show online. Now the day of the event there is no advertisements, no coordinator, and no customers?” It was clear, this has happpend before. They sent a Depty Sheriff out.
We were greeting with a shocking statement that went something along the lines of “The bad news is Shelby won’t be coming out, she’s under house arrest.” And that was the final confirmation, we had been conned. We all made our statements to the police so he could file the report. We hung our heads and drove back home.
Later Saturday night, fellow crafter Jennie started digging. She found Shelby’s criminal record, various listings for the event that stated the wrong date, wrong location, wrong time and even a different name for the event. She apparently did the same thing last year, posting ads for the event AFTER it had taken place.
And the worst part? She’s already taking money for a event in the Spring. So please, do not go to a show if it’s run by Shelby (firstname.lastname@example.org). And if it’s being done in Fredericksburg, VA…do your research. I wish I had.