WINFIELD, W.Va.— State Police have warned gas station and convenience store owners to be leery of scam artists who have successfully tricked vulnerable employees into giving up the day’s cash receipts.
“It really wasn’t a robbery. No force or a weapon was used, it’s really just an elaborate scam people are using in the area,” said Trooper First Class J.E. Garren of the Winfield Detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
Garren and and Trooper First Class C.J. Eastridge first learned of the scam when called to the Go Mart off the Teays Valley exit of I-64 in Putnam County last Friday night.
According to Garren a man called the store claiming to be the vice-President of operations and laid out a detailed request for receipts and money to be collected and placed in a bank bag. The clerk was also given a confirmation number and was told a woman would soon be by to pickup the bag.
“They stayed on the phone with them until the woman showed up. The woman recites the confirmation number which was given to the cashier and then the money is handed over and they walk out with a pretty large sum of money,” Garren explained.
The scam has been successfully used three times in recent days. The Go-Mart in Teays Valley was one victim and convenience stores in South Charleston and Rio Grande, Ohio have also been victimized. Garren said their investigation revealed the culprits have tried the scam on a lot of different stores in the region and are very crafty at their game.
“Some of these cashiers are young and new on the job. They call around and talking to these people they can get a feel for what they can get from them. They know some ins and outs of a gas station that a normal person probably wouldn’t know,” Garren said.
State Police have some surveillance pictures of the woman picking up the receipts and hope anyone who recognizes the suspect will contact them. They are also putting out the word for gas station and convenience store owners to be on alert.
“We just want everybody to know who works in those businesses it’s not a real thing and if they get a call just hang up or tell them they need to speak to a manager or they’re not authorized to do that,” Garren said.