WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Criminals are constantly trying to rip businesses off, but the folks at Hoku Wireless caught onto a scam and it took more than surveillance video to catch the crook in the act.
All eyes are on the man in the white hat and black shirt seen in store video. Hoku Wireless says he's stealing identities and buying phones with fraudulent credit cards.
"The way they're doing it the card looks so real. It looks legit," said Larry Wright, Hoku Wireless Manager.
He says the thief uses the credit card and has a fake ID to match the name. However the magnetic strip on the card is damaged. In the video Wright is seen trying to swipe the card a couple times. He even wipes the card on his shirt, but it still doesn't work so he manually inputs the number.
"It gets approved. He signs for it," said Wright.
And he's out the door. But he didn't stay gone for long. He hit up two Hoku wireless stores and bought four of high end phones totaling $2,300.
"We kept pulling up video and found out this was the fourth one within a three or four day span," said Wright.
Then he came in for a fifth time and the employee recognized him.
"I pretended I got on the phone and acted like I had a phone order coming in 20 minutes so he decided he wanted to stick around," said Emile De Jesus, Hoku Wireless Manager.
Instead De Jesus called police who questioned the suspect but didn't arrest him. However detectives now know who he is and are building a case.
"He has other incidents over here in Waikiki. He's on probation," said De Jesus.
Since he's still walking free Hoku Wireless is calling on other retailers to be on alert.
"If the card doesn't swipe ask the customer is it okay if I call your bank for you. They usually will stop at that point in time," said De Jesus.
"It's sad because as a small business it takes $2,000 from your cost," said Wright.
It is important try and catch the crooks before they leave the store because Hoku Wireless says insurance companies don't usually pay them back for the loss. Instead they say theft is a cost of doing business.