COVINGTON, Ga. - Covington Police are trying to close in on a rip-off crew hitting Home Depot stores. The elaborate plan involves store credit cards and price swapping.
The most recent price switch occurred at the Covington Home Depot on Sunday, but police said the store was first targeted just before Christmas last year.
“He will select high dollar items in particular roofing felt then will find a similar but much cheaper item and switch the ticket on to that much cheaper item and place it on the more expensive item,” said Officer Allan Seebaran.
Seebaran said police have identified a man on surveillance as Jeffry Williams, 49, of College Park. He said William's price swap was so good clerks didn't catch it, allowing him to pay $5 or more for each roll of roofing felt. He had the rolls brought back to get a gift card refund at the full price of $85.
“He would then either go into that store or another store and purchase other items. We also speculate that he would also sell those cards to the public,” said Officer Seebaran.
Police said Williams, a woman recorded with him, and perhaps another accomplice have hit Home Depots in Covington, Conyers, and other stores in metro Atlanta and Georgia as well as Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Police believe their total take is about $125,000.
"$60,000 of that $120,000 is from Georgia," said Officer Seebaran.
Police said Williams was last seen driving a dark pickup truck. They suspect Williams and his crew may be stealing from other home improvement stores as well. They said Williams managed to get away so many times by pretending to be someone else.
"When Mr. Williams would return the item for refund he'd use a fake ID to identify himself," said Officer Seebaran.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Covington Police Department.