May 3, 2006 at 9:23 AM CDT - Updated July 10 at 11:25 PM
Police Looking for Quick Change Scammers By: Holly Brantley
Poplar Bluff, MO - Police are warning store owners and cashiers across the Heartland to be on the lookout for a team of crooks.
They've already hit retailers in Butler and Stoddard Counties in Southeast Missouri. It's one of the oldest scams in existence, sleight of hand.
It works by getting the clerk so confused the money transaction turns into a big rip off! Poplar Bluff Assistant Police Chief, Gary Pride, says this apparently experienced ring of thieves could be headed anywhere next.
He says the suspects usually purchase one small item and when it comes time to get their change back, that's when the trickery begins. "Through distraction, confusion, and sleight of hand, they will take advantage of that cashier," said Pride.
Ken Parrett of the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce wants all area businesses to be on the look-out. He sent out a mass e-mail to all Chamber Members to warn them of the scam.
"From our stand point, for the other members and businesses in the community it's very important to make them aware so they might not fall for it so easily," said Parrett.
Pride says in one case a $50 transaction turned into a theft of more than $1000. Pride says cashiers should be wary of anyone who tries to haggle over price or change due.
If that happens he recommends calling their supervisor and the police.