Quick-scam artist on spree in Montgomery Co.

February 21, 2013 3:04:40 PM PST
In Montgomery County, police are searching for a criminal skilled in the art of confusion. Over the past 6 weeks, he's ripped off 6 different employees at 6 different cafes.

All of the victims have one thing in common: they didn't know they were being scammed.

Investigators say the man loves to visit busy restaurants but not to eat. Upper Merion Police say he is a crook called a quick-change scammer.

Detective Andrew Rathfon says his goal is: "He tries confusing the cashier into giving him more change than he is owed."

Detective Rathfon tells Action News that the suspect tried it at a Panera Bread in King of Prussia Sunday, but a quick-thinking manager spotted him and the suspect bolted.

The con starts with a small purchase and a big bill. The con man fast-talks the clerk with requests for change. The goal is to confuse the clerk into forgetting to collect the offered money.

Today such a scam could yield $40 or $50. If you can pull off the scam four or five times in a day, it's not a bad living.

As for the real suspect, Action News has been told he has hit at least 6 Panara breads in the last six weeks. It's likely he has hit other eateries as well.

The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s or 50s, wearing a cap and heavy coat and driving a white Toyota Scion SUV.