Albany Police warn of money scam, two suspects in custody - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Police warn of money scam, two suspects in custody

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Albany Police are say they have two people in custody they believe have a connection to a scam targeting area businesses.

Authorities say Kumneger Balehier, 37, and Omarro Buckhalter, 36 have been charged with theft by deception. APD says they got a tip after a person recognized the two from surveillance video. The suspects were taken into custody in Worth County and will be brought back to Dougherty County.

Police say this scam is an old one, but that's because it's effective.

Albany Police believe Balehier is the man seen in surveillance video about the money change scam that was pulled on an Albany store clerk Tuesday.

"The subject will hand the cashier a large bill, usually a $100 bill. And once they hand them the bill they'll start talking to them," Albany Police Sgt. Jon Segroves.

Police say the scam artist starts asking to change the bill for another one, and then a second and sometimes third person gets involved, distracting the clerk, confusing them about the cash involved.

Segroves said "The clerks are being duped into giving back the original bill.  Plus money, plus the merchandise."

Store managers say it can be confusing and stressful during the busy holiday shopping season, so  they train their employees to be diligent and safeguard themselves.

"We try to train our employees so they know how to handle the cash correctly," said Place On The Pointe Manager Honey Bolton. "And count it back to customers so that we won't have situations happen."

Police say scams usually increase during the holidays, but con artists are apparently not waiting to start ripping off businesses.

"I just saw it yesterday," said Segroves. "And with the holiday season coming up, and the large amount of shoppers that are going to be out, we thought it would be best to go ahead and warn the public that this is going on."

Place On The Pointe employees say they are glad for the warning, so their busiest season of the year does not fall victim to criminals.

Here is how the scam works:

The scam is an old one. The person asks to change a bill. Then, he or she seemingly changes his mind about 6-7 times, asking for different bills every time. After all is said and done, the con artist ends up with more money than they started with.

Police refuse to identify the business involved in Tuesday's scam, but they say other businesses need to be on alert.

More charges could be pending for the two suspects.

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