Article by Surae Chinn, WUSA9.com:
The surveillance video is clear and in color. Police say it’s of a crook claiming to be a fire or building inspector who gets open access inside businesses.
Police are hoping to quickly close this case that has turned at least 6 businesses in the region into victims.
This case is troubling to authorities because they say the imposter is so convincing.
He’s seen carrying a flashlight and a belt pouch as if he belongs there and it’s all caught on tape.
The alleged imposter is seen wearing a blue polo shirt and talking to store owner Sophad Or.
9NEWS NOW caught up with the store owner of One Plus Convenience off Norfolk Ave. in Bethesda.
He says, “Didn’t know he use trick like that and later on he wanted to see inside. I said okay. He said it’s dark I need a flashlight and I said okay. I got the flashlight and he tried to take wallet from coworker.”
The owner and his employee never suspected they were taken until hours later.
Sophad’s wife Min says she’s upset by the crime. She says, “We never thought it would happen to us but it did. ”
Sophad says the crook is so convincing at his fake job he gets full range of the place.
Sophad Or says, “He act like he knew how to do the job… never suspect he’s a bad guy.”
‘The bad guy’ goes so far as to take the fire extinguisher to top off the heist and make him look even more legitimate.
Sophad Or says, “He said okay I’ll take extinguisher this is bad and replace it with a new one.
The alleged thief has hit three places in Bethesda including Sophad’s store, a dry cleaner and the latest at a doctor’s office. He’s also hit three other businesses in Fairfax and DC.
Police want to catch this guy before the crimes escalate.
Corporal Dan Friz with Montgomery County Police says, “His intentions were to take property and leave but if he wanted to commit bodily harm he could it’s a concern not only for that but because we built our reputation with the fire department.”
Police are warning other businesses to make sure if someone claims to be an official to ask for their badge.
Most will wear a legitimate uniform with an emblem and their vehicle will also have identification.
Police say the suspect usually steals wallets and laptops.
They say if you have a concern you can always contact the authorities