Ferndale Businesses Warned About Man Who Impersonated Fire Official, Took Cash
Man recently stole $278.35 from a Dunkin Donuts while impersonating a county fire official.
Ferndale Police are warning local businesses to be cautious of anyone claiming to be a fire official and seeking cash after a man reportedly scammed more than $270 from a Dunkin Donuts shop last week.
According to police, a man claiming he was from "County Fire Prevention" in Detroit approached an employee at Dunkin Donuts in Ferndale on Feb. 16 and said the shop's fire extinguishers needed to be checked prior to a city inspection.
He said County Fire Prevention inspects fire equipment and proceeded to examine three extinguishers. The man then gave the store manager a bill for $278.35 and said he could only accept cash as payment. The employee paid the bill and was given two receipts: one for $278.35 and the other for $198.15.
"The store was very busy while the incident occurred and the man was able to walk out of the store without being noticed and never returned," Ferndale Police Detective Sgt. Patrick Jones said in a release about the incident.
The owner arrived at the store later and was suspicious of the inspection, police said. According to police, County Fire Prevention is not a known business and the address on the receipts was not valid.
The man is described as 40-45 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with a heavy build and brown hair.
Jones said Dunkin Donuts is the only business so far that has reported encountering the man. He remembers a similar scam in the area four or five years ago, but involving a different suspect.
"But I haven't heard anything until this incident," he said.
Business owners should not give money to people who come in unsolicited seeking money, Jones said. They should call police to report any suspicious activity and to confirm the identity of someone claiming to be a city official.
"Contact the city or the police department and let us verify who they are," Jones said.
Businesses should also be cautious of anyone who wants to deal only in cash, he said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Ferndale Police at 248-541-3650 or Crime Stoppers at 800-SPEAK-UP.