The quick change – it's an old chestnut of a scam, but it almost always works when a master of the art sets his eye on a young and guileless prey.
At 2:58 p.m. Sunday, police were called to Metcalfe’s Sentry Foods, 6700 W. State St., on a report of a quick change that occurred Saturday.
At 6:55 that evening, an 18-year-old cashier was working a checkout when a man paid for a $2.95 greeting card with a $10 bill. The man then asked the teenager to change a handful of bills for a $50 bill to put in the card.
The cashier handed over the $50 before counting out the exchange. When he found it came to only $48, the man asked for it back – keeping the $50.
He then quickly asked for change for a $100 bill in $20s. But he didn't even produce the $100; the young cashier handed that over, too, without getting anything in return.
Shortly after the con artist left, the cashier said, he began feeling uneasy and called his supervisor, who checked his drawer and found it $150 short.
The abashed young man told his managers and police the situation was very confusing – the man was talking in circles and going so fast he couldn’t keep up.
The scammer was described and shown on video to be a black man, 35 to 42 years old, 5-feet-8- to 5-feet-9-inches tall, 165 to 175 pounds, with a medium brown complexion and a short afro hair style.
Added to the young victim's embarrassment – store managers said he would probably have to serve a brief suspension because, to begin with, Sentry cashiers are not supposed to make change, for reasons that are perhaps now all too clear.