UPDATE at 7:35 pm: Oklahoma Police say a officer at the Carbondale Police Department in Illinois has positively identified this suspect. The suspect is also said to have cases in Illinois. Stay with KFOR with your latest updates.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The old “Bait and Switch” scam has left one Oklahoma City business out $21,000 after a man ran off with the cash – and they say the alleged crime was caught on surveillance cameras.
Officials at Dakota Financial Precious Metals say the man walked up to the window with one bag that had counterfeit jewelry and another that had 14 karat gold jewelry.
Taylor Beard, a diamond buyer, originally confirmed the bag of 14 karat gold jewelry was real and offered $20,000.
“He fills out the receipt and tells me that he thought I said $28,000. I told him, ‘No, sir, I did not.’ So, he gives our money back and we give him his jewelry. And he then says, ‘Well, will you do $21,000?’ Which was more reasonable. And I told him, ‘Yes, we could do that.’ And that’s when he hands us back the fraudulent bag of jewelry that he switched out and walked out the door with our $21,000 cash,” said Beard.
They looked identical, and at one point, he was able to make the swap.
“When I dumped out the bag, I knew immediately it wasn’t the same stuff,” said Beard.
That jewelry was totally worthless.
The police report reveals the suspect allegedly didn’t have any ID on him, so the business had him write down his personal info, which was false information.
“If they don’t have an ID present, which is not uncommon, they’re required to fill out all their personal information,” said Beard. “And we take that on in good faith that they’re putting the correct information on the receipt.”
Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department said people are coming up with new, elaborate ways to steal money.
“Often do is we see these baits, but with jewelry like this, not that often, it’s normally cash we see. But this was certainly a more sophisticated attempt when he came in with it in a bag and had something that looked very similar to it,” said Knight. “It’s just important to prevent becoming a victim in this type of a crime. Take your time, make sure everything is correct.”
Beard tells KFOR she’s thankful after 19 years at the business, she still has her job.
“I was devastated. You know, being here, as long as I have, that somebody would do that to me and not knowing that I wouldn’t lose my job over that. You know, not even taking that into consideration,” said Beard.
The business bought ink pads and will require customers to take their thumbprint if they do not have an ID.
Aside from the clear video, the only other clue to the suspect’s identity is he was seen leaving a newer model, sports-type SUV.
If you know who this man may be, call Oklahoma City Crime Stoppers for a chance at a cash reward. Your anonymous tips could earn you up to $1,000.
If you have any information please submit a tip to Crime Stoppers, or call 405-235-7300.