April 3, 2015

Apparent fraud scheme results in theft from business

A Key Largo convenience store was the victim of an apparent fraud scheme overnight by people posing, over the phone and in person, as corporate executives. Detectives want to warn business owners and their employees about this scheme so they can avoid becoming victims themselves.

A clerk at the Tom Thumb store at the 102 mm received a call at 12:20 a.m. today from someone claiming to be from the Tom Thumb corporate office. He said he would be sending someone to the store to pick up money “for an invoice” and also two cartons of cigarettes. The man said he would call and clear it with the store’s manager. As the clerk stayed on the phone, he heard the man talking to someone as if he were talking to the manager. Then he said he would be sending someone to the store shortly.

At 2 a.m., a woman came in the store. She said she was the daughter of the man who was supposed to pick up the money. The clerk gave her money from the store’s safe and two cartons of cigarettes and she left.

About 3:30 a.m. the clerk called the store manager and asked her if she knew about the money that had been picked up by the corporate office. She said she did not. She directed the clerk to call the Sheriff’s Office to report a theft.

When Deputy Cody Kerns arrived, he placed a call to the Tom Thumb district manager, who confirmed the transaction was not made with any corporate authority.

Detectives are investigating the case. They are concerned the people involved in this theft might try to do the same thing to other businesses.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-853-3211. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.

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