Illinois man faces felony charge for alleged theft

A man identified by police as a so-called 'quick-change artist' is being held in custody pending a trial date. The 60-year-old Illinois man faces at least one felony charge related to a multitude of thefts that police say he committed, to the tune of hundreds of dollars. Unlike traditional theft, police say the man employed misdirection to confuse clerks into giving him more change than he was owed.

The basis for such schemes is for the alleged perpetrator to pay for a relatively small purchase with a large-denomination bill like a 50 or a 100. When receiving change, the offer is made to pay for the amount with a smaller bill instead, effectively confusing the clerk and cheating the business out of a moderate amount of money. These schemes are apparently fairly commonplace, according to police.

The man in question was arrested after police say they observed him conducting the alleged scam on the video surveillance of a convenience store while investigating an unrelated case. A clerk in another locale provided police with the man's license plate number, and he was arrested shortly thereafter. He now faces charges related to several warrants for his arrest in connection with the supposed scam.

The felony charge in this case may prove difficult to make stick considering the unusual nature of the alleged theft. Because it is not a traditional break-and-enter or holdup, Illinois prosecutors will have to prove the man intended to bilk clerks out of additional money, and that he did so knowingly several times over. The defense team may choose to challenge evidence for this claim, which may take the form of video surveillance or simple witness testimony, neither of which are 100 percent accurate.

Source: courierpress.com, "Suspected 'quick change artist' held on felony theft charges in White County", Len Wells, March 26, 2014

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