Call it “Skullfucked: The Straight-to-DVD Sequal,” if you will.
A group of Penn students found out the hard way last Spring that sometimes when your roommate doesn’t seem to be going to class, ever, it isn’t just because he doesn’t do morning sections. It may actually be that he’s not a student at all, and he’s just waiting until you leave the house in order to pilfer your bank account.
Penn junior Zach King — along with another (heretofore unnamed) student — brought charges against a guy named Eugene Tinsley (no relation) last June, after it became clear that Mr. Tinsley was not, as claimed, a student of Penn, but rather an artist of the long-con variety.
Tinsley apparently met King sometime last year, and quickly insinuated himself into the Penn student’s life. The two began rooming together — though Mr. Eugene, of course, didn’t pay any rent — and it wasn’t too long stuff got real.
Per the Daily Pennsylvanian:
After not receiving rent from Tinsley for several months, King and his roommates “nicely kicked him out,” King said. Tinsley left for a period of time before moving back in with them around winter break last year. Later in the school year, when King went to buy gas for a trip, his card was denied, even though he knew he had enough money.
When Penn Police investigated the matter, King discovered Tinsley stole about $1,300 in checks from him. Tinsley also “involved another student who had been duped the same way,” King said.
Yikes! But how did the con man do it?
Tinsley, apparently, is “adept at perpetrating a false identity … and ingratiating himself to administrators.” Also, it probably helps that Penn students seem to be pretty easily duped:
Tinsley pretended he was a graduate student at Penn, even becoming the pledgemaster at the pre-med fraternity.
And still, no one thought it was weird when Tinsley said he wanted to go into obstetrics, followed by a gesture toward his elbow. But the deception went even further!
Some nights, Tinsley would even “come home and write papers,” King said.
At this point, we need to stop an take note: See how (from the scare quotes) this article seems to suggest that fake-writing papers is some sort of master con? That’s ridiculous. The most storied of college pastimes is telling your friends your going to write a paper, then watching 12 hours of “Battlestar Galactica.” King could’ve walked in on Tinsley not writing a paper, but instead slumped over a pile of fake passports, apartment schematics and detailed technical instructions for robbing King and his friends blind, and he probably would have just been like “Of course. Ol’ Tins is goofing off instead of studying, again!” And we wouldn’t have begrudged him that naivety.
(I mean seriously, the shit we did instead of studying during all-nighters… AMIRITE?)
In the end, though, Tinsley was caught red-handed, and “pled guilty…to two counts each of theft, forgery, receiving stolen property and securing execution of documents by deception.”
And so concludes this week’s episode of “The Thomas Clown Affair.”