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Quick-change artist hits town

By Staff | Apr 9, 2008

Store owners and clerks are being cautioned by the Estherville Police Department to be on the lookout for a quick-change artist who successfully hit two stores on Saturday, April 5.

Police Captain Brent Shatto said this individual is basically pulling a scam.

“This individual cons clerks by confusing them during money transactions for a small item or two with large denomiation bills, $50 or above,” he said.

The late afternoon occurrences involved a suspect described as a black male in his late 20s or 30s, with a slender build wearing a gray hood sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. Shatto said it was the same person in both instances.

“He attempts to confuse the clerk by asking for different amounts of change for this bill and that bill while the clerk is completing the sales transaction,” the police captain said, noting similar situations were reported to Emmetsburg police by businesses in that city. “This individual is using deception to commit thefts.”

Shatto said there are certain measures and safeguards store owners and clerks can take to prevent any confusion at the cash register as well as to avoid a theft.

He offered the following suggestions:

n Service can be refused at any time.

n The clerk manning the check-out counter should get another employee to witness the questionable transaction.

n Clerks and store owners should get as much information as possible regarding the suspect’s description, vehicle description including license plate number.

n Call the police immediately at 362-3515.”