For at least two years Marvin Gipson made the rounds of Cobb County churches and charities, sharing various tales of woe in hopes of receiving cash or some other form of assistance.
He told one church he had just been released from prison for murder but was trying to set himself straight, according to Cobb Police spokesman Dana Pierce. Gipson, 39, told another man outside a Powder Springs church that he had been displaced by flooding and needed to get home to Texas, Pierce said.
Gipson was arrested Wednesday and charged with four counts of theft by deception, Pierce said. Other charges may be forthcoming, as investigators believe the Carrollton man took his con game out of state and across the Southeast.
Gipson's tall tales facilitated his arrest, Pierce said. "If he had gone into a church and said ‘Hey, I'm just some flunky, give me money,' we wouldn't have been able to file charges," he said.
Sometimes Gipson's hulking presence -- he weighs 290 pounds, according to his booking record at the Cobb County Jail -- was enough to get what he wanted.
"We talked to a woman at one church who was afraid of him and gave him some money to get rid of him," Pierce said.
Gipson is being held without bail for an unspecified probation violation.