"Magic Trick" Crime Becoming More Common in Capital City

By: Chad Silber Email
By: Chad Silber Email

It's a magic trick that could land you in jail and it's becoming more common in the Capital City.

They're called quick change artists and some are so good, you can't even tell they've just scammed you out of money. The criminal gives the cashier a large bill and can easily walk away with double that before the employee even knows what happened.

So far this year, Lincoln Police have learned of 5 of these crimes.

The most recent case at the U-Stop on Northwest 12th Street involved a purchase for $1.46.

"The younger male hands a $50 bill and 46 cents of change to the clerk. The clerk counts out the change and gives the correct change of $49," said Lincoln Police Officer Shane Winterbauer.

The wild card here is the second man who's talking to the cashier distracting her.

"By the time it's said and done, the counter is filled with different denominations of bills and the two males exit the store with an extra $50," said Winterbauer.

Kate Smith works at the U-Stop. She says the employee who was scammed barely knew what happened. "When she wrote it down in the book, she thought that's what happened and then when her drawer was short at the end of the night, then she figured out that's what it was."

She's also aware it could've been her. "I always count it out Vegas-style across the board," said Smith. "So then you, me and the camera system can all see what's being laid out."

Police don't believe any of the cases are related, but they're hoping to put a stop to this quick change crime.

If you know anything about any quick change crimes, call Crimestoppers at 475-3600.


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