Health officials warn restaurant owners of fake inspector

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Police say a fake health inspector spent about four hours inside San Marcos market and restaurant in south Toledo on Tuesday. Now, health officials are warning restaurants owners to watch out.

The imposter took advantage of the business, using the claim of being a health inspector to get inside access to San Marco's.

"It's a very serious issue. Health inspectors have really good access to almost every area of a business. They're going in potentially looking at sensitive documents maybe looking at financial records, maybe looking at ways to rob the place later, who knows, it was up to no good no matter what their intent was," said Deputy Health Commissioner Larry Vasko.

A police report says the owner of San Marcos gave the man access to the entire business including the market, restaurant, kitchen, food storage and office areas. The fake inspector did not say much, but he did take several pictures.

"They had some key info. They knew who our local supervisor was so they had done some research. This is actually a breach of public trust," Vasko said.

After four hours, which is longer than a typical inspection would take, the owner became suspicious, and called the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department. Real health inspectors went to the business and determined the man was a fake. By that time he was able to get away.

Vasko says real inspectors will carry an identification badge. Many will be familiar to the businesses since they regularly inspect the same places. If a restaurant owner has any concerns, the owner can call the health department.

The health department plans to press charges if the suspect is caught.

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