Crooks Targeting Area Grocery Stores - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Crooks Targeting Area Grocery Stores

PARMA, Ohio – Police in Parma are asking for the public's help in stopping a new con game that's been taking place at northeast Ohio grocery stores, Action News' Ed Gallek exclusively reported.

What was caught on surveillance videotape from a local Marc's store and a Tops market had veteran detectives shaking their heads in disbelief. It also could end up costing you money.

On one of the tapes from Tops, a man can be seen distracting the grocery bagger by asking for cigarettes. Then, a woman gets into a dispute with the cashier. Before you know it, the woman customer puts both hands into the register and steals $980 in a flash.

Suddenly, the dispute ends with the customer actually making a minor purchase. Then, she and her accomplice leave with the loot.

Burt Saltzman, who runs the Dave's supermarket chain, said that his stores haven't been hit yet, but that this crime is alarming.

"We're going to have a manager's meeting tomorrow, and we'll definitely tell everybody about this -- our employees too," Saltzman said.

It wasn't a one-time thing either. Surveillance tape from Marc's in Parma shows a woman disputing something with the cashier and then getting her hands in the money drawer. Police said they believe that the crooks even had a lookout on this occasion.

"I've seen quick change artists at work before, but I've never seen them bold enough to stick their hand in a till," Parma Police Det. Michael Klein said.

Klein said that he thinks one woman was involved in both crimes, but he doesn't yet know who she is. He also said that the crooks have probably hit other stores too, and that the con game is the type of crime that drives up prices for products that you pay for at the checkout.

If you have any information that might help out authorities, you are encouraged to call the Parma Police Department at (440) 887-7339.

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