A scam was uncovered last week when investigators revealed that they had arrested a local man who was using the internet to market and rent a small patch of beach in the area to out-of-town visitors.
The man in custody, who investigators identified as a Mr. Strand of East Hampton, used an online short-term rental site to attract customers to pay for what he called “weekend beach getaways.”
Customers paid Strand $700 for the weekends, which sounds like a bargain until you consider that he provided precisely nothing in return for the money.
“Mr. Strand represented himself as the owner of this patch of sand in East Hampton,” said an official familiar with Strand’s scam. “He met his customers on Friday evening when they arrived in town and collected his payment, then he escorted them to a public beach. The customers were shown where they should set up their stuff, as if that mattered, and were given to understand that they could stay until Sunday. Of course, since it was a public beach, the customers could only stay as long as beach rules allowed, but before the customers realized this, Mr. Strand would leave.”
Investigators are still trying to determine the identities of Strand’s victims, who have remained understandably reluctant to reveal that they fell for such a transparent ruse.