TAMPA — Hillsborough deputies are asking for the public's help in identifying a man who swindled a Tampa store clerk out of $300 in cash.
The elaborate con happened June 21 at the Handy Food Store at 9320 E Adamo Drive. A clerk received a phone call about 6:30 p.m. from a man who claimed he was an employee of the business' corporate office, deputies said. After asking if another employee was in the store, the man asked the clerk if he knew how to do a "pay out."
The man said a vendor would be stopping by the store. The vendor would deliver a key to the clerk. The clerk was directed to then pay the vendor a total of $475 that he was owed, deputies said. Asked if he had enough money in the cash drawer to pay the full amount, the clerk said no.
The man explained the "pay out" process to the clerk, telling him which buttons to press to open the cash register, deputies said. He had the clerk write down an invoice number.
Later, a young man wearing all black showed up claiming he was the vendor. He gave the clerk a key. The clerk gave him $300 and had him sign a paper with the invoice number written on it, deputies said. The young man said he would return to collect the remaining $175 the following day. He left and did not return.
The clerk never asked either man's name or requested to see the young man's identification, authorities said. The scheme was captured on the store's surveillance video, which sheriff's officials released Thursday in the hope that someone might recognize the young man. He is described as in his 20s, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds with a medium build and a fair complexion. In the video, he is seen wearing a black ball cap and a black T-shirt with a yellow design on the front.
Anyone with information regarding the theft is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.