Two men who scammed $40 from the Mount Carmel 'Blimpies' on June $10 using a "distraction and incorrect change" scheme, are suspected of hitting three other businesses in town. (Image by Jeff Bobo)
MOUNT CARMEL — Two men who scammed the Mount Carmel "Blimpies" restaurant out of $40 by claiming incorrect change earlier this month were caught on video, which police are hoping will help get them caught for real.
On June 10 the two men hit three businesses in Mount Carmel with the 'incorrect change' scam, and then a discount grocery in Mount Carmel on June 27.
The plan was the same each time.
One of the men purchases a small amount of merchandise using a $50 bill. While the cashier is counting out his change and handing it to the first man, the second man creates a distraction.
In the case of the theft at Blimpies he asked for a job application.
While the cashier was behind the counter getting the application, the first man slipped the two $20 bills he'd received in change into his pants pocket.
As the cashier hands the second man his job application, the first man showed the cashier the change, minus the two $20 bills, and claimed he's been shorted.
Blimpies manager Marlene Hutchins said her cashier "panicked" because more customers had come in and the suspect began cussing him.
"(The video) shows it plain as day, you can see him stick it in his pocket," Hutchins said. "(The suspect) had a 'World's Greatest Dad' T-shirt on and he said, 'You're cheating my children, how could you want to take food from children or money from my children', and starts cussing him. There were people in here, and (the cashier) panicked."
The two men are white, and both appear to be in their mid-30s. They are driving either an older model white van or a small red pickup truck. The van has the driver's side backseat window broken out.
"We're asking for the public's help," Jackson said. "Anybody who may know these people or have any information about them, please contact us and let us know."
Jackson said businesses should be extremely cautious when interacting with customers, and look for suspicious activity at the point of purchase and sale.
Jackson noted that there are techniques to help avoid being victimized by this type of scam, such placing the cash on the cash drawer to avoid being confused by the amount of cash received, and counting aloud the amount of change returned as you place it in the customer's hand.
Anyone with information about these suspects is asked to call MCPD Detective Phillip Robinette at 423-357-9019.