MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) - Maumee police are searching for a man tricking businesses out of hundreds of dollars, and they said he is doing it by asking for change.
Police have linked the suspect to at least six cases in Maumee over the past few months. The impacted businesses include Chipotle, Magic Wok, Zoup!, Deet's BBQ, Donoto's Pizza, the Maumee Indoor Theatre and possibly the Speedway on Reynolds.
Trevor Deeter is one of the owners at Deet's BBQ. He said two customers tricked one of their employees by ordering a small item off the menu and asking for change.
"One of the gentleman was taking multiple bills out of his pocket while she was making change. When she put the change down, he then placed his change on top, making it a mess," Deeter said.
It was not until later that the business realized the customers took off with an extra $50 bill.
"We were a little angered with the situation, thought 'Come on, the cashier should have caught it.' But after watching it over and over again, it was clear they are very talented at the terrible thing they were doing," Deeter said.
Detective Sergeant Jeff Siebenaler said several business have fallen pretty to the "short change artist." The suspect shows up in different clothes, caps, even with different accomplices. However, police said surveillance cameras show it was likely the same man hitting at least six businesses in Maumee.
"Most of these service industry workers are conditioned to be accommodating. Customer service and the customer comes first. That's easy to pretty on," Siebenaler said.
Police said the suspect works quickly and aggressively, taking $50 to $100 each time.
"It's theft, and it's somewhat preying on the business community. Times are hard enough for those folks as it is," Siebenaler said.
Maumee police obtained clear photos of the suspect from Zoup! on Dussel. The suspect is described as a black male in his mid-40s, 6'2" and about 220 pounds.