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Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Celina police investigate Wal-Mart scammers

Thieves ask for several transactions of smaller bills and leave with more money in the end

By William Kincaid
Celina Detective Ronald Waltmire is confident the police department soon will make an arrest related to an alleged quick-change scheme that left the Wal-Mart Supercenter short of an undisclosed amount of cash.
Police are looking for two black males they suspect perpetrated the scheme on Friday evening.
A quick-change scheme occurs as a customer makes a series of transactions with a cashier in an attempt to confuse the cashier, Waltmire said. Usually, the customer in question begins with a large bill and requests smaller bills. The scheme often progresses to the point of confusion, with the customer ultimately leaving with more money than he or she came in with.
"We have some leads," Waltmire said, pointing out he is confident the police department will make an arrest soon.
According to police reports, the Celina Police Department released a be-on-the alert broadcast at 4:48 p.m. Tuesday, asking for assistance identifying the two males involved.
The first subject reportedly is a black male with medium skin tone, a small build and dreadlocks. The second suspect is a black male, dark-skinned, with little hair and glasses and wearing a black jacket with a large emblem on the back. The two were seen getting in a white four-door sedan.
"There's been other jurisdictions with this same type of crime," Waltmire said, adding that the Celina case has many similarities to those committed in Van Wert, Tipp City and Vandalia in the last month.
The quick change scheme is not a crime often committed in Celina, Waltmire added.
Police recommend that if cashiers believe there is a problem, they should ask for the customer's identification or get a manager right away. If working alone, a cashier can always call law enforcement, Waltmire said.
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