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Beware of woman at parking lot in Walmart

Original post made by Disappointed citizen, Valencia, on Jul 14, 2009

Just to let you know this morning I was approached by an African American woman (around her late 40´s) telling me that she had no money for gas, that she came for a funeral and had to travel 70 miles to go back home. I gave her some money, she thank me, gave me a hug and then left on a dark gray PT cruiser where another African American male was waiting for her. Then a Walmart associate told me that she was doing the same at Home Depot. Basically I felt defrauded. Do not believe all the stories people tell you in the street. Hope to make the community more aware of this type of incidents. It can happen to you.

Comments (53)

Posted by J
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for the warning. Had a lady do the similar thing to me at a gas station just off the freeway in Stockton a few years back. She told me her child was sick and she needed gas money to get to the hospital. I was a student at the time and didn't have the money to offer her, and instead offered to give her a ride to the hospital. She insisted she just needed the money, not a ride, and swore at me when I told her no to the request for money. At least the lady you dealt with was civil.
As I left the gas station I saw the woman come out with a 40oz beer- she had used the money others had shared for that rather then the gas she claimed she needed. It made me glad I hadn't given her any money

Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Well, that didn't take too long, did it?

Every thread ends up in a political argument.

Either Cindy is a whacked-out Liberal nutjob, or she's trying to make whacked-out Liberal nutjobs look bad. Either way, Cindy is a troll.

Thanks for the warning.

Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Julie is a registered user.

I agree with you 100%, "Parent".

Cindy, she gave her money and a hug - where is the fear and racism?

Besides, it is okay to use race as a descriptor. It's likely the first thing people notice about one another.

Thanks for the warning, Citizen.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I don't believe for one second that "Cindy" gave anybody money. She's trying to win points by coming across like a generous person. She's had hard times recently and needs a tiny boost in her self-esteem!!

Posted by Craig
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jul 14, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for the headsup on what happened to you.

Posted by Big Mike
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jul 14, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Typical scammers. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 15, 2009 at 6:55 am

Sad that you can't believe anyone anymore.

I donate nothing to anyone who asks.

Posted by Eric
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:18 am

Cindy, was it really necessary to engage in an ad hominem attack? Why can't this be a civil forum in which people with differences in opinion can say what they want without the name-calling?

Posted by Tori
a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

Thanks for the information. I too was approached by this woman (about a month ago) and gave her some money. I knew at the time she may very well be lying but did gave her enough that if she was telling the truth she should be able to buy gas and make it to Vallejo. My daughter was with me and we talked about how she may have been lying or we may have helped someone out and we would probably never know. LOL. Mike is right it's better to donate to established organizations and I'm sad situations like this have made it hard to help people who are really in a jam. Take care all!

Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 15, 2009 at 8:49 am

One of the oldest scams in the books, whether perpetrated by a black woman or a white man or a small child. Next time someone approaches you with this type of request, offer to call the Pleasanton or Dublin police for them. Just pull out your cell phone, then watch them run. And everyone say a short prayer for Cindy...she is probably having one of those days that each of us has occasionally and could use assistance from a greater power...seriously...offer her up in prayer.

Posted by Sherry
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

This same type of people solicit from churches as well. The Dublin Police Dept. has a Good Samaritan fund to aid people with financial needs. This eliminates them receiving aid from many different people. Many churches in Dublin contribute to this fund.

Posted by Maggie
a resident of Avila
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:37 am

Regarding the lady asking for money at Walmart - that is exactly what happened to me several months ago. Like the person who started this chain, I gave her a few dollars. I knew it was a scam but I figured if she had to resort to asking for money, she must need it. I'd rather give money directly to someone in need since the administrative fees on most charities is far greater than what ends up going to those in need. Yes, I know that some will use it for drugs and/or drink, but I hope that the majority use it for real necessities.

BTW...glad I don't live in the Birdland neighborhood - I might have to deal with Cindy as a neighbor.

Posted by mary
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

Cindy- You've got a bigger problem than the one discussed here. You sound biggoted and judgemental with little information about another. Thanks to Eric and his calm reply to you that I didn't type out my nasty reaction to yours.

The subject, however, is a good one. Facts are facts. We were approached at the gas station at Hopyard and Owen by a man about the same age and race, same story, and offered money to help. In the end, we learned to be more skeptical, but if one were truly in need, we were glad to be there.

It's not about age or race, it's about need or scam. Hard to judge those things in this economic climate.

By the way, the police department is aware of this and it's been going on for a number of years. Some say that communities like ours are targeted due to the generous nature of the people who are fortunate enough to have disposable income.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

Yes, gererous. And, the more often P-Towers give, the more often they'll KEEP coming !! 90% are scammers. 70 mile??? yea, that's about right, 30+ out, 30+ back to Oakland. And those in need.... was it self-inflicted.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

I was also gave $10 about a month ago in the Walmart parking lot to probably the same woman who was nicely dressed and gave hugs. I didn't know whether she was telling the truth or not, but figured if I was in the same situation in another town someone might help me out.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:01 am

Panhandlers work where the money is good. PLEASE STOP giving money to
these people who are in front of stores (Safeway & Walmart, claiming to be vets, homeless shelters, etc), on street corners or like the hard-luck case discussed here. There are legitimate ways to help people and make donations but this type of "donatong" only encourages these people to continue and it is a real nuisance.

Posted by 2ME4U
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I had a similar situation but it was an early 30 something white guy (not trying to be racist but he was white). It was at the gas Shell station on Santa Rita near Trader Joe's. He needed money for gas (so he said). I have been in tough spots an often been helped out by strangers so I wanted to help if the story was true. I went inside and pointed out the guy and told the clerk what he was doing. I then gave the clerk $10 (that's what I had on me) and told him,” if that guy has a car that he himself is driving put in $10 of gas for him in the next couple minutes. If not keep the money for yourself". I went out and told the guy, 'Get your car over here and put in some gas' and he said something like 'huh?'. I told him I bought him some gas and it was time to put it in. He walked off to get his car and never returned. I was happier some guy working at night in a crummy job devoid of tips or probably any benefits got $10 that night, then even some guy who needed gas for real. There were other ways of dealing with it but I was happy with the results.

Posted by rypress
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I once saw a local news exposé on 'Panhandling' where an ex-panhandler stated he made in upwards of $60k a year - TAX-FREE! He also mentioned that the majority of the money he made went straight into supporting his drug and alcohol addictions.

On a similar topic -- I once saw a report on depression where experts noted that making a "donation", or even OBSERVING someone doing so raises serotonin levels in our brain and can actually help relieve symptoms of depression in both the giver and the taker - temporarily.

We're hardwired to help one another out in times of need. It doesn't matter our ethnicity, gender, or age. We help instinctively in order to prolong human existence. It's hard to sit back and not help our HUMAN RACE.

Posted by Helping Hand
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I'd like to offer my assistance. If you folks are willing to give me some money I will make sure it gets into deserving hands. This will save you from having to deal with potential scammers at stores and gas stations. I can even set you up for an automatic monthly payment. Don't thank me, just trying to help. It's what I do.

Posted by ???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I also gave $20 to this same woman 2 weeks ago but didn't think much of it. There were 2 black male in the car with her at that time. I figured if she's desperate enough to ask, then she must really need the money more than I do. Why not? It's a good thing to help people, whether it's a scam or what not.

I really don't understand why some of you regard this as a "scam". She asked and I gave her my money willingly. Where's the scam? She told me they were nearly out of gas and I did what I could do to help a stranded fellow human being.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 15, 2009 at 12:59 pm


Posted by kl
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

People are especially need at this time. I have been approached several times by people asking for money. Once, at the library, this man ran up to me as I was walking to my car asking me if I could spare any change and scared me to death! Another instance, that happened today actually, was when I was going to a burrito restaurant and was approached by a man who demanded, "Buy me a burrito." What I have learned is that it is very important to be aware of your surroundings. Something bad could happen the next time you are approached by someone.

Posted by Lori
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:36 pm

In response to Maggie's post, here's some info that may help you decide if you want to contribute to a charitable organization.

If you ask, charitable organizations must, by law, let you know what percentage of your donation will go to administrative costs. Be sure to ask, every time.

Posted by kolohe
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm

my daughter, who is 26 and i was approached by a similar woman in the hacienda shopping plaza...she wouldn't give money, but offered her starbucks card.. the woman told us she didn't drink coffee, so my daughter offered a jamba juice card..she took that...thank you for the heads up tho...

Posted by Sedona
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jul 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I guess I will have to try to make this as political correct as I can: I have seen people in parking lots with children in tow. They have said they are hungry and needed money to feed their little ones. I went and bought a couple of meals for them. someting I thought the little ones would like and might eat if they were really hungry. The childrens caretaker practially through the food at me and said I Want Money. I called the police and told them that there were children being exployted and where they were. I hope they are OK.

Posted by A Better Way to Help
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

It does happen - in our valley and outside as well. Are all ‘scamers’ – no. Are most? yes

Best bet is to NOT provide them with cash.

Panhandlers will return – over and over – to a spot that works. You are not helping (enabling), if you just give them cash. Cash may be used for food or gas…but most of the time it goes for ‘other’ products and services. Just ask any police officer.

If you must, Offer to get them some food and bring it back. Tell them there are several support services in the area and a police officer can help connect them to the services they need most. That is truly helping them.

Cash – just supports the wrong behavior…..and maybe even the wrong ‘habit’.

Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Parent of Two is a registered user.

Better yet, let WalMart know that there are panhandlers in their parking lot, and unless the panhandlers are removed, you don't intend to ever come back. AND you'll tell all your friends that WalMart has unsafe parking lots.

Trust me, WalMart will clear them out. If there's one group that understands $money$, it's WalMart.

Posted by Jon
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Parent of two,

Just stopping into say hello, how are you?

Posted by Jon
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jul 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Oh my god, people asking for money in Pleasanton, gets this much of a reaction? Black people at that! People, go to any major metro, almost anywhere except Pleasanton, and you will be approached all the time! Sometimes I wonder if some people were born, raised and now live in a bubble!

Posted by colette
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I was approached by a lady in the Walmart parking lot a little over a year ago. She, too, was on her way to a funeral and had forgotten her wallet at home. She needed cash for gas to get her to Oakland and back home. I gave her a five, and wished her well, knowing that she was probably full of bull. She gave me her husband's business card to call to confirm she was giving me the straight scoop, and just for kicks, I called him. He confirmed her story. Funny thing happened about 2 months later...I was driving to Fresno following the sudden death of a family member and had grabbed my purse off the counter as I rushed out. Half way to Fresno, I realized my wallet wasnt in my purse. I paniced and thought I might have to do what this lady had done and ask strangers for money! Fortunately, I remembered I had a credit card in my pocket. Too bad the scammers ruin it for those who really are in need! I would have been screwed if I hadn't stuck that credit card in my pocket as I was leaving the house. I don't care if they are black, white, or purple...a scammer is a scammer and their dishonesty has nothing to do with race or gender. A good description is appreciated. Cindy, you are an IDIOT. Get a life.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

TIP OF THE DAY: No Thank You. Always works for me!

Never give a hug. Never look interested. Step it up and!

problem solved...

Posted by Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Lydiksen Elementary School
on Jul 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I gave her money a couple of weeks ago at the Starbucks at Hacienda Crossings. I was sitting with friends outside having coffee, and we each gave her money. I am sickened to hear this is fraud... Thanks for warning everyone, wish I had thought to mention it here, just to see if it was legit. I think she told me she needed gas to get to Vallejo, funeral story and all...

Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Julie is a registered user.

Jon, you are correct that in a major metropolitan areas you are approached for money. Being from San Francisco I think of Pleasanton more as the 'burbs and hardly on par with a big city. And, even in S.F. you aren't approached in every single mall or area. Most of it occurs downtown, in certain neighborhoods and on various street corners or highway dividers. Of course here in the suburbs getting ready to go into Walmart one is not expecting a panhandler. And these aren't really "panhandlers", they are scam artists - they are lying. At least the guy laying in the doorway on Van Ness covered in garbage bags is not telling me a sob story to get money from me.

Someone mentioned a person earning 60K on the streets. There was word a few years back that one of the "corners" in S.F. (I think on Junipero Serra Blvd.) was worth 80-100K/year and that people had died fighting over the space. Could be urban legend as I never confirmed it.

Posted by Mr. Hand
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Wow! The same thing happened to me too, except for that nasty proposition of doing something in exchange for the money that on the surface sounded fairly illegal, if not immoral & just downright kinda creepy too.

Wait, that was in SF...nevermind.

Posted by Read My Lips
a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 15, 2009 at 11:46 pm

PAN HANDELING is Illegal. Next time anyone comes up to you call the Police, don't listen to their sob story.

911 all the way

Posted by Great deals
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 16, 2009 at 7:24 am

I have a bridge for sale if any of you are interested. Beautiful orange suspension bridge with stunning views. Cash only please.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I was walking once with my boss in the French Quarter of New Orleans (pre-Katrina days) and was asked for a few spare dollars. As I started to get my wallet out, my boss stopped me and told the man to leave us alone. Later on that evening, my boss told me that his sister had her wallet snatched as she took it out to find money to give a panhandler so if you don't have any in your pocket, don't pull out your wallet. Good advice -- I never thought of that happening :(

Posted by Maggie
a resident of Avila
on Jul 17, 2009 at 2:49 pm

To Lori...I'm fully aware that charitable admin fees need to be disclosed - that's why I only give to those organization that do not use the funds for administrative purposes.

Posted by unclehomerr..
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 17, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Read My Lips, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, posted:

"PAN HANDELING is Illegal. Next time anyone comes up to you call the Police, don't listen to their sob story. 9-1-1 all the way"

Don't do that! 9-1-1 is for life threatening emergencies only! Just call the police.. that's enough.


Posted by Anne
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 19, 2009 at 10:19 am

I know that you mean well, when a stranger approaches with "a need" but you are probably being scammed. And you are probably helping to support their drug habit. This scam has been running a long time. In 1988, I was approached by a black woman in swanky, downtown Palo Alto, who said she was "on a date and the man had become abusive and she needed bus fair to get back to Monterey". Then a few weeks later, I saw her again soliciting money from other people using the same story -- but this time she was using a small child as a "prop". I confronted her and said "don't you remember me...I gave you money the other day." She fired off a loud insult - "F-You, You White B--!" and scurried away.
People do what works for them -- and Crack-heads will sell their souls for a high!!

Posted by Maggie
a resident of Avila
on Jul 20, 2009 at 8:30 am

Not sure what the problem is here people - if you want to give, you give. If you don't, you don't. If you want to call the police, call the police (not 911!). For me, giving her a few bucks (knowing that it was most likely a scam) was right for me. No one is going to tell me who I shouldn't give MY money to. The End!

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Some very generous people in this thread. I for one have made the choice never to give cash. I'll donate cash to a known charity/benefit, but never to individuals. I too once called a panhandler's bluff at the gas station stating that I would fill up his tank if he pulled his car around or could show me it. Needless to say he walked off.

Posted by no cash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm

This has not yet happened to me in Pleasanton but I have to admit feeling a bit acosted when I'm asked to contribute cash outside of Safeway by one group or another. some are probably legit but I asked the safeway cust svce person once and she said they can't stop them but ask them to sign up to use the space, but often don't And safeway appears not to monitor it at all. This hasn't happened much at Raley's on sunol so I don't know if they have some kind of policy they enforce.

Our familly makes contributions to homeless shelters and food banks so I like to give but not a fan of the in your face method where you can't verify the legit from those who don't want to work.

Posted by Another Disappointed Citizen
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Aug 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I lost my first msg. so I'll try again.
Thanks for the warning. Police always ask for a description.

A year ago I had an encounter with a Black Woman, between 5'7"-5'9",
150-175 lbs., well dressed/groomed and very well spoken, she had a table set up in front of Wal-Mart. I made a large donation to "missing and exploited children" and received several tshirts and fingerprint kits. Long story short, it was a front. I found out because I contacted the organization on the receipt to find out how I could obtain additional fingerprint kits. I went back that same afternoon and she was gone, WalMart had no knowledge of her. I never reported the incident because I felt it was my stupidity that caused me to loose my money. What really bothers me is that she was so good at deceiving me. I'm beginning to loose faith in humanity. I no longer trust people asking for donations. I am a Hispanic Woman and a Republican. When I donate I don't ask people if they're Democrats or Republicans.

Posted by Member
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2012 at 9:29 am

Men have approached me several times in Wal-mart parking lots asking for money. Yesterday a man yelled to me twice, "excuse me miss". I ignored him and then he came right up to me at my car and I yelled, "NO Thank you!". He was caught off guard, backed off and said,"Geeze, I just need the time". I asked, "DOES IT LOOK LIKE I AM WEARING A WATCH?". These people are scary. For all I know, he is going to grab my 2 year old and run, or rob me, or stab me, or shoot me. I am not shopping at Wal-Mart any more. Too many psycho there. Its not worth my life or my child's.

Posted by Clarence
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I'm a black man who has been a loyal Republican all his life. Civil rights was the worst thing to happen to black people because it raised everyone's taxes and forced black panhandlers onto the streets. I'll tell you the real honest truth. Most of them make upwards of a $1000 a day, and they use most of it to buy themselves and their children 40 ounce cans of beer and malt liquor. Worse, they don't pay taxes like you and me. One other thing: I thought about voting for Obama last time, but I'll not vote for him this time around. He's a pathological liar.

Posted by None of the Above
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:11 am

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Posted by Minimum Wage Taxpayer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

I work at one of the little stores in a Dublin strip mall. There are many scammers and many in real need in the Tri-Valley area. We often have homeless coming in our store, and have generous customers who really want to help them. (took up a collection, called a cab, and got a man to a homeless shelter). We also have had to have Dublin Police come and remove people (homeless and not) from premises because of their panhandling. If you want to help, help, but please for the safety of businesses and customers and to truely help the person, let the businesses know the people are there. Police will help the people get the help they need if they are really in need.

Posted by Obvious to all
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Well, well, more liars. I would say 'Member and Clarence' are UNION people setting up a TWOsome to defraud innocent PW readers. Call'em out ! ! ! PW should check the computer address, to see if they are ONE !! 'Member' trashing WalMart, 'Clarence' totally a phony !! His whole point is setting up scenario trashing civil right from a so-called Republican. Just coloring in his coloring book, trying to paint a phony picture, but he's way outside the lines !!
So now we know the unions have added a new way of lying and trashing in their polticial compaigns...such cowards. . pulling up a thread of 2009.

In fact there is always a black man on the center bench in front of
WalMart...always there.

Posted by Another Pleasanton shopper not returning to Walmart
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

There was a family with two little children near the garden center entrance yesterday. The children were crying and in dirty clothes. The adult male was holding a cardboard sign that stated that they needed money for food. It was over 90 outside. I did phone Pleasanton police, as suggested many times here. I inquired about the children and their safety and asked if this was a scam. The person that answered the phone sounded annoyed and told me it was my decision as to what to do. She wanted to know if the children looked distressed. I told her that they were outside in the heat, crying and asking for money. Seems distressed to me. That was it. Calling the police did nothing as far as I can tell. What would you do?

Posted by Obvious to all
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

Flashing neon light in the name of the last post.. 'Another shopper not returning to WalMart'... The peabrains of these union posters are so tiny, they must get squashed in the gutte. They must see WalMartflashing all night long in their nightmares.
Grow up. Attempt to fit in the real world. I know that's hard when you have so much time on your hands, since you don't have to scrip and save for your retirement, like the rest of us do.
Strange, I'm st WalMart every week, yet have never seem the tales from above...obviously fiction (aka lies).

Posted by Obvious to all
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2012 at 9:50 am

For you 3 union liars above, who marks the calender when to pull out this old set of lies from 2009 ?? Of course when you're not of this world, 2009 junk is as good as any.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on May 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

People that say these scam artists make $60k - $200k per year are just lying to support their own agendas. Most of these people asking for money are scam artists, but a typical day is closer to $25 - $50 ... not $1,000. Most of them have substance abuse issues, and this lifestyle is a choice they have made.

Unfortunately they deprive the real poor, the real homeless these opportunities for charity. These scam artists (they often call themselves travelers) can be aggressive about protecting their territory / corner / ramp.

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