Ohio man accused in quick-change scam

February 26, 2013

An Ohio man, already facing charges in a quick-change scam, is finding himself in more trouble after state police arrested him last week and South Strabane Township police filed new charges against him Tuesday.

Paul Pierre Williams Jr., 25, of Columbus, was initially arrested Feb. 15 on a charge of theft by deception by South Strabane police after he allegedly conned a cashier at Walmart, Trinity Point, out of $48 after making a small purchase using a $50 bill and then repeatedly asking her to make more change.

A loss-prevention officer at the store was looking into two other quick-change thefts and told police that Williams appeared to be the culprit in Oct. 20 and Nov. 3 thefts. During both thefts, the man identified as Williams is wearing the same mustard-colored shirt. He also wore a dark-brimmed fishing hat during the October theft and the February incident, police said.

Williams’ actions were similar in all three thefts, according to police. He reportedly folded the money before giving it to the cashier and purchased small-ticket items. He would then purchase other items that would cost little money. He would pay with a $50 bill and reach over into the area of the cash drawer while repeatedly asking the cashier to exchange money with him, police said.

The losses to Walmart were $240 in October and $50 in November.

Police obtained a warrant to search Williams’ Volvo. They said they found the hat and other clothing he reportedly wore during the thefts, as well as some of the items Williams is believed to have purchased during the transactions.

State police charged Williams with theft and receiving stolen property last week after he allegedly conned a clerk at the BP, 2865 S Bridge Road, Buffalo Township, out of $250 during a quick-change transaction. He reportedly used a $100 bill to purchase a $1.19 pack of cigars. When he left, the clerk determined her register was short. State police said he was seen on surveillance driving a Volvo.

As part of his agreement to waive a preliminary hearing on the original charges before District Judge Jay Weller, as well as the charges filed Tuesday, Williams’ bond on the South Strabane charges was reduced from $25,000 to $5,000. At his arraignment Friday on the state police charges, District Judge Ethan Ward had set bond at $25,000.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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