Authorities suspect quick-change artist in gas station scam

It’s called a quick-change scam, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man who’s targeting local gas stations with it.

On Thanksgiving Day, a man described as black and wearing a baseball cap and a black, zip-up jacket entered a Maverik gas station in Clifton and allegedly scammed a cashier, who gave him more in change that the man was supposed to receive.

According to the National Association of Bunco Investigators, he could be a quick-change artist.

That group, along with many others, describe it as a scam artist who steals money by confusing cashiers while they are making change.

While there are many ways to do it, the practice unusually involves the artist trying to purchase an inexpensive item, such as a pack of gum, with a large bill.

The artist, who often chooses times when the cashier is swamped with other customers or is just about to close, confuses the cashier when trying to make change, the association says.

The Sheriff’s Office said that witnesses reported that the suspect in the Clifton station “was smooth with his money handling and the cashiers could not keep up,” adding that other gas stations in the valley may also have been targeted.

There are numerous news articles around the country about such artists, including some websites and videos that try to teach hustlers how to do it.

Other websites warn businesses to take steps to help prevent the scam, such as never keeping bills in the register larger than a $20, posting that fact on signs around the cash register and training cashiers to be wary of the practice.

Mesa County sheriff’s officials say the man they are searching for is about 6 feet 2 inches and weighs about 230 pounds. They ask anyone who sees him to call its non-emergency number at 970-242-6707.


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