Crime Stoppers: Pineville police warn local businesses about scammers pretending to be company representative

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 6:14 PM CST
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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - The Pineville Police Department made an arrest on Tuesday in our next featured case in our partnership with Crime Stoppers. But, they say the message is still important, especially if you’re a local business.

Police said the suspect has been pretending to be a representative for national chains, and he’s been scamming Cenla businesses out of products and money. They want you to be on alert if you spot something similar.

Police said the scam starts like this - a man walks into a chain retailer, iPad in hand, a fake invoice, saying he works for somewhere like Coca-Cola, Red Bull or even a cigarette company.

Police said it happened just like that on Nov. 3. They believe 29-year-old Micah Collins of Alexandria scammed Lowe’s and Walgreens in Kingsville.

“So, he goes in and portrays himself to be a vendor,” said Deputy Chief Darrell Basco with the Pineville Police Department. “(He) convinces employees to get expired merchandise out of the store or he needs to make some type of warranty exchange with some type of goods from the store. Loads them up and walks out.”

Basco said in the case of Walgreens, Collins convinced a clerk that he needed to check the expiration dates on cigarettes.

“He checks the cigarettes for expiration, pulls out the expired cigarettes, tells the employee he will get store credit, and walks out,” said Basco.

Basco said there are a few things you can do so you don’t fall victim.

“Make sure they have proper documentation from whatever company they say they represent,” he said. “Make them show ID, make them show some type of company ID. Do everything you can to make sure this person is actually a representative of that franchise.”

Basco also said due diligence can save a company in the end. He said in the case of Walgreens, the estimated loss is upwards of $1,000.

Pineville Police told us Collins has been arrested on charges of third-offense theft and simple burglary. The jail booking information reflects a $25,000 bond. He’s currently behind bars.

Meanwhile, Pineville police have created a checklist to pass out to local businesses with a few easy steps they can follow so they don’t fall victim.

If you have any information on this case or others like it, you can contact the Pineville Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 443-STOP.

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