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Beware "Steve Ray" (East Coast)

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Beware "Steve Ray" (East Coast)

Hey folks,

This cyclist was our first warm showers visitor, and although he was pleasant enough as a guest, it later became clear that he had fabricated everything in his cycling persona. (I don't even know if the name is real.) I am posting this because although I already outed his fabricated persona in feedback and alerted Warm Showers, after I changed my feedback to negative, it took him only an hour to delete his account, and it would not surprise me if he tried to create a new one, but retained much of his story.

The story he told is:

A bike builder from Alaska, former welder, lives supposedly 90 miles north of town off the grid with $150,000 worth of solar and wind power for his cabin and shop. Says he got hit by a car and was in the hospital for most of a year (or in and out, when questioned about that) and says he rode Fairbanks to San Diego, then across the Trans-Am, then up to DC, down to Florida, back up through DC to Pennsylvania, back down to DC -- where he told us he was leaving -- before looping back up toward Baltimore to take advantage of more Warm Showers hospitality and claim he was leaving again tomorrow on a plane for Alaska.

Some of this story holds up -- at least there were various WS host records from locations along this alleged route (though nothing that I saw was from West of Kankakee, Il).

He had good feedback (one negative, but that was about a banana peel, seriously). However, he told us he was flying out of the DC area the day after our stay. Many days later, I got a message from another host wondering about him, saying things didn't add up, and that he also told him he was leaving the next day (but by Baltimore to DC, then Alaska, which makes zero sense.)

I did some quick checking of the photographs he posted on Facebook (very little social media presence) for himself and his business -- supposedly a fabricator of titanium bikes. It took me an hour using internet search tools to verify that Every Single Photo (except for a single shot of him in Yorktown) was taken from somewhere else and misrepresented as being his own work (ti bikes and parts) or his own experience (helicopter fatbiking picture taken from Norco cycles, cyclists under the northern lights, taken from an Icelandic outfitter). Steve volunteered photos on his phone that showed "geothermal bubbles trapped in ice on the lake by my house" which I confirmed as a stolen image from a Smithsonian Magazine article about methane bubbles in a Canadian lake(http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/lake-abrahams-frozen-bubbles-are-stunning-and-silent-danger-18...). A story he told me about helicopter fatbiking was accompanied by a look at an image of bikes strapped to a chopper, and he posted that on his facebook profile, but it was easy for me (later) to see that this was taken from Norco's page (http://www.norco.com/news/2014/04/heli-dropping-a-fatbike-into-the-unknown/). Steve has a lot of good stories about getting attacked by dogs, hassled by angry Kentuckians, and he knows a lot about the cycling industry including obscure stuff like recumbents. Enough to fake it pretty well.

Nothing else seemed to add up either. The location given for his business in Alaska, upon my checking, cannot exist because the entire block for that address is taken up on one side by a homeless shelter, the other side by a food bank. (https://www.google.com/maps/place/720+27th+Ave,+Fairbanks,+AK+99701/@64.8224791,-147.71885,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x51325aaecbf7567b:0xd3ec98f08062ad6b!8m2!3d64.8224791!4d-147.7166613)

His cell phone number turns out to be for a Maine area code, sort of hard to explain for a guy from Alaska, even though he does have one broken phone story, but this allegedly happened while he was crossing the US on the trans am route.

He may well be completely harmless [edit: not harmless, a confirmed thief] , but I have a zero tolerance policy for fictional personalities. People who are willing to lie about the little things are always moving up the scale in falsehoods.

This is too bad, because, frankly, I'd have hosted him if he was just a regular dude who said he was taking a 2-day trip across the region and needed a place to stay.

Lessons, unfortunately, if you care about knowing who's coming to your place, get more than just some decent WS feedback. Get the social media presence. Use Google Image Search (upload the photos) to see where else they appear on the Internet, and see if people are who they say they are. I would have no trouble if someone did that kind of cursory background check on me, and it'll be a minimum part of my approvals going forward.

Wish the first WS hosting experience could have been better.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Wasn't "Matthew Ray", the

Wasn't "Matthew Ray", the infamous thief who stayed with WS host John Demirjian (who has regularly posted here to warn about him), a similar-looking short, plump guy from Alaska? If I saw a photo like that on a new profile or a guy looking like that rolled up to my house, I would be alarmed and would cancel the stay before it even started.

As for doing social media inspections, that’s your right. But as cycle-touring attracts a somewhat alternative crowd, there are a lot of people who do not use Facebook etc. Even those who do use Facebook are often very concerned about privacy and prefer to limit access to their profiles only to very close friends and relatives – that doesn’t mean they would be hiding any nefarious secrets from you, it simply means they are being prudent and following pretty standard internet privacy advice. It would be a shame if some good and appreciative cyclists and enjoyable guests missed out on a place to stay just because they couldn’t show you a FB profile.

Probably the best way to avoid truly dangerous or unpleasant members is just to follow the WS forum, then you would have known about this guy beforehand.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I hear you on the social

I hear you on the social media thing, and I understand it. I was relying on WS feedback (naïve, in retrospect) and in the future I'm simply going to need more. This wasn't a new profile -- it was 6 months old, and it had feedback from months ago, the only negative piece about his allegedly leaving a banana peel at someone's place. I'll have a look for that past info.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Steve Ray = Matthew Ray

This is definitely the same guy.

https://www.warmshowers.org/node/133191

WS Member WS Member's picture
As for following the forums,

As for following the forums, I suppose that could have done it, but the posts warning about him predate my time here, and running a search on the currently given name (or even just the last name) didn't bring up the former alias anywhere in the first few pages of results. There should probably be a sticky thread or a page of known charlatans where this kind of thing can be more easily found.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Steve / Matthew Ray Charlatan using phone number 207-558-5910

He's using (or was) the phone number 207-558-5910 currently, for anyone who gets a call.

WS Member WS Member's picture
He also uses 786-494-1465

He also uses 786-494-1465

I confirmed he didn't leave Baltimore via facebook. I am in contact with a cycling acquaintance who is a cop.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bikebmore/1236032586450961/

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Matthew Ray, thief and liar

Our encounter with Matthew Ray was in late February of last year. He ripped off Outdoor Adventures Bike Shop in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I live and used me as a reference. I had a dialogue with him about three weeks ago now and he is the same, a liar and a thief. Don't truest him. He is a walking scam. Anyone who want further detail can call me at home in Las Cruces: 575-521-1141 and I will delightfully discuss what I know as FACT. --John Demirjian. Las Cruces, New Mexico.

WS Member WS Member's picture
very worrying indeed

I worry for his mental health, I really do.

Traveled with him for close to 3 weeks for memory, the lies and fabrications he told me about his life became worse and worse.

He told me, and I probably heard him repeat the story to 100 other people, that he had rode his bicycle with trailer along the northern coast of Canada in winter for 7 months, I believed him at first as he went right into detail about it, the kind of gear he had to survive that ordeal, what it was like. I think he literally believes his own lies. His photo has been posted up twice now, if his family is reading this then do the right thing and help him out, he needs it.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Regrettable!

I am sincerely sorry you had this first experience. Thanks so much for posting about this fellow, who sounds like the pest Matthew Ray.
Regards,
Janet

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Ha! Ha! Pest!

Yes, he is a pest. His full name is Matthew Steven Ray.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Matthew Steven Ray aka Steve Ray Florida Arrest Records
Unregistered anon_user's picture
it is sad

He could have chosen another way of life. Sad he has made the choice he had. Our prayers go out to him.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Steven Ray aka Matthew Ray in New Jersey

I got a phone call last night indicating that Steven Ray aka Matthew Ray is still operating his con, now up in New Jersey. I will note that he contacted me a few weeks ago swearing that he had returned to Alaska, which I was sure wasn't true, and looks confirmed as another lie.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
phone calls.

I got an anonymous phone call from a warmshowers host that Matthew Ray was using the alias Steve Hall. But contacting Hall, he rejects that as a mistake. Whatever, beware of Matthew Ray. The call came from New Jersey.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Is Matthew Ray now Steve Hall -- steve.hall ?

There's a 1 month-old steve.hall profile up on WS. It has no profile picture except for a shirt. https://www.warmshowers.org/user/147204
Is this Matthew Ray? It adheres to one of his habits, using a name.name profile name. It attempts to establish similar credentials to Steven Ray (bike manufacturing) . It discusses at length how the address given can be viewed as a home in Google maps. (Steve Ray's Anchorage address didn't match up with a house, as pointed out in these forum threads. Is someone trying to recover from past mistakes?)

I certainly hope Matthew Ray isn't running under the name Steve Hall, or Steven Hall, -- steve.hall. However, given the call I got and the subsequent information in this thread, it seems possible, if not likely.

A profile picture that was a recognizable person would perhaps help clear this up.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Steve Ray

He just stayed with us March 14-17. He said that he was traveling to Maine and was stuck because of the snow storm. He claimed to have just stayed with a woman in Carpentersville, which is in NJ before coming to us. My husband gave him a ride to Doylestown PA. He said that he was headed to stay with another person in NJ. I looked at the police record but it doesn't say what he was convicted of. Is he really a thief? This was the first time that we have hosted anyone and this will probably be the last.

Renee

WS Member WS Member's picture
Renee, please don’t let this

Renee, please don’t let this scare you away from hospitality exchange. In the years I have been on WarmShowers, this guy has been the only persistent troublemaker that the North American community complains about. And his modus operandi these days relies on creating brand new profiles where hosts cannot see any of his past experience. If a member or a couple contacts you with who has been around for a long time and has a series of positive references, then they can be trusted. Also, the very occasional thieves that trouble hospitality exchange networks have virtually never hosted travelers themselves, so if you get a request from someone who actively hosts cyclists, then you don’t have to worry.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Yes, he stayed with me. I

Yes, he stayed with me. I took him in for two nights because of the snow storm. He said his name is Steve Hall. This is the phone number I have for him: 406-219-1194. He let me take a photo of him. Here are the things he told me:

Originally from Montana
Currently lives in Fort Collins, CO
He knows EVERYTHING about the biking world in Colorado
He was incredibly talkative and very intelligent (seems to never have forgotten anything he's ever learned)
He has a lot of knowledge on technology and devices
He doesn't have any social media stuff because of privacy concerns
He can code and hack his phone to change the things he feels causes privacy concerns
He designs packaging for the bicycle industry
He gets 8 weeks off from work and that's why he is riding from PA to ME
He has family in Maine
He is divorced
He's been on many bike touring trips
He was meeting a couple in Hellertown, PA to be interviewed regarding the trip he's currently on
He visited Gettysburg a few days before he stayed with me
He started in Harrisburg, PA at the end of Feb

WS Member WS Member's picture
That phone number's a VOIP

That phone number's a VOIP number, as have been his past numbers. That's another of the ways he hides himself.
WS confirms they deactivated this latest profile, but I'm sure he'll create another as soon as he puts together a new back story and fake home address.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I just spoke with an officer

I just spoke with an officer in the Doylestown, PA police department to give them a heads up that he was in their area as of the 17th, based on Renee's info.

WS Member WS Member's picture
If anyone knows any cycling

If anyone knows any cycling facebook groups in the Philly area, I would suggest posting this to their groups.

WS Member WS Member's picture
His name was Steve Hall when he stayed with me 2/28- 3/2 2017

I guess my experience was similar to others. He called last minute and stated his original warm showers host fell through and wondered if I could host him last minute. He stated his Warm Showers profile was very new because his ex-wife took over their account and he needed to establish one of his own.

He stayed in our home for 2 nights, significant rain was forecast so he asked to stay a 2nd night. As others mentioned he talked about lots of biking experience, especially off road riding, stating he rides the entire Colorado Trail almost yearly with a group of friends. He seemed to be a wealth of all kinds of information. He was friendly and even generous to me.

Sorry to hear he's a scammer, I hope he finds the counselling help he needs.

His phone number was 406 219 1194 and email thefatbikersteve@gmail.com

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Steve Hall stay

I just got to study this thread better and am adding this info FWIW. We had him the night before you (Steven Reist) but interestingly he had called me late morning of the 28th and told me he had a Couchsurfing host near Harrisburg for that night and he was hoping to be able to stay 2 days because of the rain. At that point I was still buying most of his story, there were parts that didn't add up but I chalked them off to lack of clarifying info.

The pictures attached by Seth Jayson were what got me looking into this thread because the face looked familiar and the bike was a ringer (single front chainring, anodized platform pedals) except I thought he had more conventional knobbies on. After looking around here, he didn't have a nice WrenchForce pedal wrench with him did he?

This is for the site moderators:

If I wouldn't have been curious and had time last evening when checking my account and then gone to the forums, I never would have found out about this. What do members have to do to get notifications about this type of thing? We used WS on our tour, my son has the feedback because he did most of the contact work, I happen to get the hosting requests because I live so close to the ACA East Coast route but as I said in post #32 (edit: now #33), I'm getting gun shy, especially of single riders.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
giving warmshowers a bad rap

He's a fugitive from justice. Wanted in Florida. He's a real butthead.

WS Member WS Member's picture
That's Him!

That's the guy!! But he wasn't using that name. Black fat tire bike. Man what a piece of work! Someone stop him, no telling what he can do.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Matthew Ray

He went under the name Steve Hall. All we can do is put out the warning. We don't know if he has opened another account with Warmshowers under another name. His email is thefatbikersteve@gmail.com He definitely is a piece of work. He came through Las Cruces, New Mexico, in February 2016 when he ripped off the bike shop here for $175 worth of gear and labor. Call the police if you see him again. --John Demirjian, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Unregistered anon_user's picture
"Matt Steve Ray"

Matt stayed with me some time back, probably before he ripped off the bike shop in Las Cruces.
Must have contacted me by phone as I have no email record.
Said he was an Alaskan with a business of building custom made fat tire bikes.
His cousin is the best woman mountain biker in the States.
Was going to bike to Albuquerque to do a bike workshop for kids for a week.
First was going to meet an Italian cyclist (someone who organizes a race like our Ride the Divide) and they would spend 3 days mountain biking,
He got (or rented) a bike from a local bike shop and a backpack and was never seen again.
Many days later the owner had a call to say the Matt was in hospital in Al Paso after having an accident in Las Cruces.
His father would be coming from Alaska to get him and would come here to Silver City to pick up his bike and gear.
Took the Panniers which he had left at my house to the shop. When opened they were found to be stuffed with paper.
We never heard from him again, but when I mentioned this story to a couple of cyclists staying here recently they said they believed that was the same guy who was being discussed on the forum. Sure is

WS Member WS Member's picture
Matt Steve Ray or Whatever

We need to work together with thr membership and law enforvment to get this guy. He is wanted on a fugitive want from Florida and Florida will extradite. I don't know what Florida wants him for, but if they are willing to pay to extradite him it's something major.

I was disapointed the Warmshowers newsletter didn't issue a warning about him and any others that may have been a problem.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Yes, WS really needs to get

Yes, WS really needs to get it together here - a special newsletter with identifying photo and aliases. Is anyone listening?

WS Member WS Member's picture
WS isn't listening much. They

WS isn't listening much. They're likely the ones who removed the original threads warning about this knucklehead in the first place. When I confronted them about it, they wouldn't confirm removing those posts, and said this kind of thing wasn't much of a problem, and they'd tightened up security, but they didn't catch his newly-created alias until I alerted them to it after having been alerted myself, so clearly they're not paying much attention. He's got a pretty recognizable alias/scam identity rubric, and it should be simple to check new accounts for his latest attempt. I don't think they care enough to do it. He's not lying and staying at THEIR houses, after all.

WS Member WS Member's picture
That isn't entirely fair -

That isn't entirely fair - with every new profile he changes a few details, and if he wanted to go entirely random it would be pretty hard to detect. Which is why they need to send out a special newsletter, he's onto his 5th or 6th profile (from what we know) on this site, people need to know at least what he looks like, the usual stories he spins and the aliases he uses.

Admin did take the other threads down because there were over a dozen of them and some of them crossed the line as far as online vigilantism goes. Of course they didn't do this on their own initiative, some of those posts were there for something close to a year, it only happened when I responded on one of the threads that no online forum worth its salt would tolerate that kind of behaviour. What they should have then done is removed the posts concerned and merged all the other information chronologically into one thread, so the story could be followed from day one. This is called forum moderation, and generally needs to happen on a daily basis - but somehow with 10s of thousands of dollars of annual donations it barely exists here.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Bold Statement

That's a bold unfounded statement. I am a Board Member with Warmshowers.org and I hosted Matt in January, 2015.

I also serve as Registrar and delete several new members daily who look suspicious or do not belong to our cycling community. We have been receiving about 140 new members each day, and this takes a lot of time to review. Especially since 2 other reviewers and myself, are volunteers.

I hear your anger. At this point, that is what it is. A resentment towards Matthew Ray that he can't feel and probably does not bother him. Do what you need to do to release the anger and feel better, but blaming WS administration is not going to change your anger. We currently have volunteer openings in our Trust and Safety department. Maybe you can make a difference by volunteering there.

Ken Francis

WS Member WS Member's picture
Criticizing WS’s

Criticizing WS’s administration here seems completely reasonable, not just misdirected anger from Matthew’s victims. When CS had its first persistent thief (the infamous Kurt), the community got a special issue of the newsletter warning about him with thorough details and a photo (several photos, IIRC). That WS admins know that Matthew is plaguing the community but haven’t sent out a warning to the membership at large, is deeply troubling.

WS Member WS Member's picture
"We have been receiving about

"We have been receiving about 140 new members each day, and this takes a lot of time to review. "

This has always appeared to me to be a monumental waste of time, the fact that Matthew Ray has slipped past you on 4 or 5 occasions (that we know about) after his first ban despite making little effort to disguise himself on each subsequent profile only confirms this to me.

...and yet, even with all those man hours invested, we continue to accumulate thousands of new members annually incorrectly marked as 'available to host' making the task of finding genuine hosts increasingly difficult and neither you nor anyone else at WS will deign to provide an explanation of why you continue with this policy despite being asked repeatedly (in the same way that you have failed to confirm on this thread if WS will send a special newsletter about this character or at least give reasons as to why you won't).

WS Member WS Member's picture
Several Reasons

With 140 new members each day, should everyone new receive a warning letter? Would the current community read a warning letter (as most disregard new letters and other such emails from the organization)?

You are talking about one individual who has a knack of reappearing. We are managing an entire community. We are best at encouraging people to be careful of who they host, and always leave feedback (best when a pic of the member is included). Be aware of members who have little to no feedback and have no clear profile picture. We have members who take calls and NEVER review a profile before accepting a guest. This is not the wisest thing to do, but it is a choice.

I also host through AirBnB and recently had a bad experience with a potential guest. It happens. As individual members, we just have to protect ourselves as best we can. I have no guaranty when I hop on my bike that I will reach my destination safely, but I take precaution. I don't rely on traffic enforcement to make sure I get there safely. And I don't think any of us do.

Be safe. Screen your guests. Don't loan money to guests. Leave feedback.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Yes, feedback - I've found

Yes, feedback - I've found negative feedback detailing theft and even attempted sexual assault and the members concerned still had active profiles, I had to report this stuff meanwhile you're wasting your time reading 140 new profiles a day (and I'm pretty sure they didn't sign up identifying themselves as members intending to commit theft/sexual assault). Do you think AirBnB personally vets each new profile?

Really there is so much that needs to be done in WS, if you're going to invest that much time in member screening make the site invite only distributing invites to members who keep their response rate over a certain amount over a period of time, or conduct interviews - irc will provide a sufficient barrier for most of the time waster profiles (who incidentally wouldn't be any more of a nuisance to WS than the kilobytes they occupy on your servers IF they weren't signed up as available to host to clog map and list searches and needlessly make life difficult for tourers). Or just put a Captcha on the sign up page and be done with it.

So instead of sending a newsletter out to 80,000 members warning them of this individual you're going to do nothing because the next day there will be 140 new members who won't know about him. Well, how about having the warning appear on login?

So I take it:
1. No newsletter on someone who has multiple reports here of theft and dodgy, dishonest behaviour and continues to re-register as a member and slip through your human filter.
2. No explanation of why you continue to sign up new members as available to host by default.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Bold Statment?

I don’t believe the membership is “blaming” the Warm Showers organization for this man’s actions. What I get from the members’ comments is that Warm Showers was aware of the allegations against Mr. Ray, or whatever his real name is, and didn’t do enough to inform them of the potential dangers of hosting him.

We hosted him back in September and it cost us $250 in stolen equipment. I don’t blame Warm Showers for that loss and I harbor no ill will towards him; however, I do feel the organization could have done more to inform me, and the membership, in ways to better check potential guests’ background, or warned, by some means on the website, about allegations against a particular person. After all, the organization seems to be aware, by removing several of his bogus profile pages, of the accusations against him.

What I also hear in the comments is the membership is looking to the leaders of Warm Showers for help in identifying undesirable people before they have the chance of staying in their homes and possibly committing a crime against them. It would seem that if we work together on this problem we could develop a workable plan. After all, it will benefit us all.

The leaders of this organization are in a difficult position. Posting ‘bad guy’ notices could cost the group members in the short term and potentially open them to liability for making false accusations against someone. But by the same token if the organization is aware of criminal complaints against someone and does not use due diligence to faithfully inform the membership of the person’s potential dangers, that too opens the door to liability against the organization.

As for posting warnings about undesirable guest costing membership numbers; the reality of that may in fact be just the opposite. I believe people would probably feel safer joining an organization that acknowledges the potential of problems dealing with humans from around the globe and that they feel is watching out for the safety of their membership to the best of their abilities.

If a volunteer position for such a thing exists, I for one would be interested in it

WS Member WS Member's picture
Steve Hall

I had him in February. He will talk your ear off. Nothing missing here that I can tell other than some AAA batteries. It was curious that I couldn't get a profile on him, he said his ex had taken it and deleted it. He contacted me from the phone number listed in the most recent posts above. Wish there was a way for WS to have a list of "undesirables" that is easily found, I never checked this forum before now. He also uses Couchsurfing for places to stay, seems to know all the tricks of the trade for free stays and meals He had plenty to say about WS, info on how it wasn't being updated and about some disagreements at the top and that they aren't doing anything to improve it, possibly could become irrelevant. Will someone get a list together of users to watch out for and make a link on the home page or something? I've had at least one other "interesting" guest and am getting a bit gun shy.

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details and facts

He stayed with me earlier this year, and my questions led to Seth starting this tread. I've posted this story on local Facebook groups as an alert to others.

Regarding recent posts:
1. Do we factually know he is still wanted in Florida? I've seen the links to Florida on this thread, but when I read them I am not convinced he is still wanted. I contacted my local police after his stay (before I found the mug shot links), but not much they can do...Unless someone can definitely prove he is wanted by police. The links have his full name and birth date. Do we know anyone in law enforcement that can check official records?
2. Paper bags in panniers? Can you please elaborate on the timeline and details on this and the bike? This is very interesting. I've always wondered where he really stays every night, and how much he actually rides. He doesn't seem to stay at warm showers every single night.

WS Member WS Member's picture
details and facts addition

I will agree we need help here. As I said in my posts above, he mentioned Couchsurfing several times in our conversation. I mentally questioned how much riding he does because of the small amount he ate at the meal and his body tone compared to the stories he was giving us about where he had been riding previous to the stay here. When I had gotten that far into the ride we did I was eating anything offered and still losing weight. Also he had to have a hell of a technique to ride the distances he claimed for a day with flat pedals and the low gearing that bike had.

When he left here he said he was heading north on the Pennsylvania J route up into New York to see some relatives and then west toward Buffalo and then out to Indiana. He was hoping to do that all in a couple of weeks. He must be a better touring cyclist than I, and with almost no gear and packs.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I assume he's hitching rides

I assume he's hitching rides whenever possible. He lies about everything else, so the mileage has got to be bogus, too.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Is this a Steve Matt Ray theft report?

I was trying to find information on "the infamous Kurt" mentioned above, and the internet search engine dug up this recent thread for me:
https://www.warmshowers.org/node/189243

Sounds like our man.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Why can't I find information on "Kurt"?

Edit: disregard. I misread the post above...

It occurs to me that if there was a special edition newsletter alerting members to "the infamous Kurt" mentioned above, shouldn't there be something persistent on the site regarding him? If you weren't a member when it happened, how would you know if you were getting a newly-aliased Kurt at your place?

WS Member WS Member's picture
Kurt was a dark-skinned

Kurt was a dark-skinned Belgian man who kept presenting himself to CS hosts as an Australian Aborigine traveling Europe, which was kind of ridiculous because he had a thick Belgian accent. Besides stealing from CS hosts, he also stole from a number of hostels in Central Europe over the course of a year or so. But this all happened a decade ago, in 2006 or 2007, and Kurt eventually disappeared from the scene, so it is no surprise if you cannot readily find any information about it now, especially as CS’s new corporate owners gradually removed most of the early website content.

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That's Matthew Ray, Kurt was

That's Matthew Ray, Kurt was on Couchsurfing, nothing to do with WS.

Seth can you please put your replies on the relevant post, this thread is getting jumbled and confusing.

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Sorry, misread that thing on

Sorry, misread that thing on "Kurt." and where he was operating.

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now biker dave
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profile:
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The chameleon

Once again a name change and no profile picture. If the feedback listed is real I'm guessing most of these folks will, or have, found something missing from their home. It took a couple of months to find what he had taken from us. This guy needs to be stopped, he's gotten away with it for too long. If he contacts you let him stay, just have the cops there when he comes so he can get his 'all expenses paid' trip back to Florida where he's wanted.

WS Member WS Member's picture
David Willange alias Steven Ray, Matthew Ray, etc., etc.

We hosted a fellow last evening going by the name of David Willange. He is definitely the man in the photos in this thread with the green jacket. I have some photos of him, but I don't know how to include them in this message. This was our first experience hosting, and unfortunately we found all of the name changes and stories of him being wanted after he left. Although some of his stories were a little suspect, as well as the gear he was using for this trip didn't seem exactly right to me, I wrote it all off. I'm not sure where to go from here, but a guy on a bicycle that is wanted, traveling a lot of main roads, doesn't seem like he should be too hard to stop. I'm not sure of how to warn future hosts of this man.

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