Police Warn of Fire Prevention Scam
Montgomery businesses should be on alert for the unidentified male suspect pictured above. The man entered Dunkin' Donuts, Small Word Coffee, and Bent Spoon in Princeton and scammed the employees into making them believe he worked for "Metro Fire Prevention, 1485 State Street, Trenton, NJ," and that he inspects fire extinguishers. According to Princeton police, no such business exists.
The suspect was able to get about $800 from the businesses after he pretended to inspect their fire extinguishers, police said.
He is a white male, bald or crew cut, 6'02," heavy build, approximately 40 years old. The suspect wrote on sales invoices and used language as if he knew what he was talking about, so there is a possibility that he is a fired employee from a fire protection company or works for one and is doing these scams for extra money, according to Princeton police.
Apparently, this scam has been going on for at least two years in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, perhaps with same guy. According to a May 2017 article in Explore Clarion (Pennsylvania), a man who appears to be the same suspect claimed to be a representative of a false company, also called “Metro Fire Prevention.” The individual informs employees that he is there to inspect fire extinguishers and requests cash payment.
The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services in Pennsylvania, as quoted in Explore Clarion, said the scam has happened in a number of states.
Montgomery and Rocky Hill residents and business owners who have been a victim of this scam, or who may have relevant information regarding this scam, should contact the Montgomery Township Police at 908-359-3222.
Photo caption: Police are seeking information on this suspect, who was caught on a security camera while he is "inspecting" fire extinguishers at a Princeton business.
Details of the Princeton Crimes
The Princeton Police Department is currently investigating two cases of theft by deception occurring at two local Princeton businesses. See police details below:
Dunkin Donuts on Nassau Street in Princeton reported that on March 23, between 5:30 pm and 6 pm, an unknown male deceived employees into paying $378.35 by portraying himself as a fire extinguisher inspector from Metro Fire Prevention located at 1485 State Street Trenton.
The unknown male actor proceeded to “service” their fire extinguishers and collected $378.35 in cash from the employee/victim. The victim describes the unknown actor as male, white, bald, 6'2", heavy set, wearing khaki colored chino pants, a gray polo style shirt, and a black baseball cap.
In the second incident the victim, Small World Coffee, located on Witherspoon Street, fell victim to the scam on March 23 at 5:30 pm when an unknown suspect entered the business and portrayed himself as a fire extinguisher inspector. The manager on duty stated the suspect requested to inspect the interior fire extinguishers to ensure that they were up to date.
The unknown suspect provided two handwritten receipts charging a total of $476.70 for his services, which he collected in cash from the Small World employee/victim. The victim described the unknown male actor as a white male, approximately six feet in height, heavy set with short dark hair that was shaved, brown eyes and wearing a brown sweatshirt (no company markings).
The Small World employee stated that they allowed the male to inspect the extinguishers. The employee stated the male then asked for payment in the total amount of $476.70. The complainant paid the male and called the business owner to advise them of the payment. The business owner then called the police after they realized the male had scammed them.
Police offer the following advice: If an individual seems suspicious, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately. Also request credentials from service providers to confirm their business or agency affiliation.