Con artist scamming money from Aiken County cashiers

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 14, 2007

AIKEN, S.C. -- There's a con-artist on the loose in Aiken County. His latest hit was yesterday, just before noon. Investigators with the Aiken Department of Public Safety are trying to figure out exactly who walked out of the Aiken Wal-Mart on Richland Avenue with more cash than he should have.

One Aiken business owner knows all about losing money. She says this happened to her a few years ago.

"One guy came in, talked very nicely. When they came, they give you the money, try to talk and you forget what you are doing," says Lhau Patel. "After closing the register, everything is done, he says, 'Oh, you gave me wrong change.' And I'm like, 'No, I'm right.'"

And now, the Aiken Wal-Mart on Richland Avenue may be more careful, too. According to the incident report from the Aiken Department of Public Safety, a man handed a wad of money over to the cashier asking for big bills back for a small purchase. When the cashier handed the money over to the man, he put some of the money into his pocket and told the clerk that he did not get enough money back. That's when the cashier gave him more money.

The same thing happened to Lhau, who learned from her loss.

"We try to say aloud what money they give so the customers behind hear. If no one is around, we still keep the bill that we first get on the register, give the change and then put the bill in the register. And when they say it's the wrong change, I show them the bill. It's still here. I didn't put it in the register," says Lhau.

"We work hard all day long and we lose some money, we can't afford it," she says.

Edgefield County has been looking for Tyrone Eugene Reid on charges of swindling. The Aiken Department of Public Safety is stressing that they have not positively identified Reid as the man in the Wal-Mart incident, but an investigator in Edgefield says it's probably Reid in action at the Wal-Mart. The Edgefield County Sheriff's Office say they have 5 arrest warrants out for Reid for swindling, all misdemeanors.

The investigator says the Johnston and Edgefield Police Departments also have warrants out for Reid.

Reid has a long history with the Georgia Department of Corrections. In April of 1998, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Richmond County and sentenced to three years in prison. He only served 18 months.

After that, Reid was sentenced to five years in prison for five counts of violating a motor vehicle law, but again, he only served about 18 months.

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