Store manager says con men stole both peace of mind and money during scheme

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OLATHE, Kan. -- It's a new twist on an old scam. Shortchange thieves have successfully hit Olathe businesses and now police are asking for your help identifying the two men they say are involved.

Police say the shortchange scam involves laying down money to pay for an item, then confusing the clerk so you actually get back more than you paid. Six businesses in Olathe including a Subway and Sugar Rush fell victim.

The owner of the cupcake store calls the men experts at the con game, except that their con was all caught on surveillance video.

"Who would steal from a girl that sells cupcakes," said Nicole Lynch, manager of Sugar Rush.

A quick talking and quick-moving man came into the cupcake store two weeks ago asking for a bottle of water. The man started laying 20 dollar bills on the counter while peppering the clerk with questions.

"Questions such as: 'Are you guys hiring? Is the manager here? Do you like it here?' Just questions that would make you think enough to where you lose track counting," said Lynch.  "And he just kept putting down bills, 'oh, actually can I get change in this amount instead, I'd rather have three fives, No actually ones.'"

Distracted, the clerk doesn't realize while she counts the change, the man lays down new bills and picks up the old ones, plus the change he requested.

Watching it back on surveillance, Lynch said the man was good.

"He looked like a con artist. He looked like he obviously knew what he was doing. There was no second-guessing it. He bee-lined right to the register. He had an agenda when he came in," Lynch said.

Olathe police say the same two men tried the same con in 10 stores. The owner of Dollar Marts said he didn't fall for it.

"If I would have fallen for it I would have lost $99," he said.

Police say six other businesses did.

"I don't really think that he stole money from us. I think he stole more of a peace of mind from our girls that work here," Lynch said. "That's pretty sad when you're trying to scam small businesses. Earn it, just like the girl that you just took from was."

Full disclosure regarding this report, the owner of Sugar Rush is a FOX 4 photographer and provided police with surveillance video from his store. 

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