PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. -- Accused thieves used a household product to commit a crime at a Northland gas station, but the whole heist was caught on camera and didn’t go as planned.
It happened this week at Woody's BP station off 92 Highway in Platte County, where a white Chrysler Town & Country van with Illinois tags was caught on surveillance cameras parking outside the shop.
A man and a woman went inside, where they played it cool at the register. Meanwhile, a third accomplice was scaling the wall outside.
“One of them climbed up on this side of the roof over there and placed aluminum foil on the satellite dish,” Assistant Manager Susan Crim explained .
Crim said small stores use satellite dishes to transmit credit card information, but if it is covered with aluminum foil, it often won't work – giving thieves time to buy stuff inside with fraudulent credit cards.
“If they would put their minds, when they're figuring out all this stuff, I mean, think of the career they could have!” said Crim. “But no, they’d rather do this kind of stuff.”
Usually the crooks would be long gone before a clerk would notice the transaction was declined, but Crim was hot on their case.
“The last time that they were here, they had bought a certain liquor and a carton of cigarettes,” she explained of recognizing their faces and their purchase from a time last year when she said these same suspects tried to pull the same scam.
“I’m not an idiot,” she said. “I know what’s going on.”
But this time it didn't work. Their card was declined, and they left the shop empty-handed.
“It's heartbreaking, you know,” Crim said. “You try to expect the best out of people and I’m sad to say, probably about 20 percent are bad, bad people.”
Law enforcement agencies have seen similar heists around Kansas City, Wichita and Omaha in recent years, and as Platte County deputies work to crack this case, Crim is determined to stay vigilant.
“Just go day-to-day,” she said, “because I’m not going to let them beat me down.”
Crim described the suspects as a black man with dreadlocks wearing a red and white Adidas jacket and sweatpants, a black woman in a red Chicago Bulls t-shirt, and two other black men who were riding with them in the van.
Anyone who recognizes any of the suspects or know anything about the case, call Crime Stoppers at 816-474-TIPS.