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Metro East convenience stores scammed by con men

NEW BADEN, IL (KTVI)– Police in O’Fallon and New Baden, IL are looking for help identifying a suspect and persons of interests involved in a bold scam.  The individuals walked into at least 5 Illinois convenience stores and told the clerks money was owed for delivered merchandise.

Police say clerks in two of the stores handed over money.   Surveillance photos from those two incidents were available from the O’Fallon and New Baden police departments.  The hope is someone will recognize the suspects and contact police.

Clinton County Crimestoppers is offering a reward in the case.  The number to call is 618-594-4555.   Tipsters in the O’Fallon case can call (618) 624-4545618-624-4545.  New Baden police can be reached at 618-588-7741.

Police say the group of men visited at least 5 convenience stores on January 31st.  According to police, the 1st stop was in Swansea at approximately 2pm.  The next stops were in Fairview Heights, O’Fallon, a store just outside New Baden and lastly a store in New Baden at approximately 5:30pm.

Here’s how police describe the scam.  They say a group of men walked into the stores and learned the clerk and the manager’s names.  They would then leave and call the store, claiming an order of merchandise had just been delivered.  The caller said someone would be in soon with the bill.  A few minutes later, they walked in with a phony invoice and asked for the money.

The clerk at the Kokomo Joe’s in New Baden handed over a little more than $1,200.

“I’m very surprised it worked,” said store owner Don Schomaker.  “I can’t believe it.”

He hopes someone will be able to recognize the suspects and will contact police.  New Baden Police Chief Mike Riley said charges could include theft by deception.

“It’s hard to keep up with all the scams that these guys come up,” said Riley. “This was a new one and it was fairly successful.”

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