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Man posing as inspector scams staff at Michigan Avenue Kilwins

Fake inspector cons staff out of $170 at downtown Kilwins
Fake inspector cons staff out of $170 at downtown Kilwins 01:54

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A bogus inspector was captured on camera conning employees at a Chicago store out of cash.

As CBS 2's Sabrina Franza reported, the owner of the store had a warning on what to watch out for Thursday.

The scammer walked into the Kilwins ice cream and sweet shop at 310 S. Michigan Ave. downtown and told staff he was there to inspect their carbon monoxide detectors. But the business runs completely on electrical power.

By the time the owner found out about the scam, it was already complete and it was too late.

"It's just another one of these scams on the street," said Kilwins Chicago owner and operator Jackie Jackson, "another easy hustle."

The purported safety inspector was caught on camera inside the store.

"Saying there was a carbon monoxide leak that they were inhaling poisonous fumes that they possibly could shut down the store," Jackson said.

It happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The man came into the Michigan Avenue Kilwins with a calm, cool, and convincing demeanor on display.

"He was just confident – just told him like, 'This is very serious – there's a leak someplace,'" Jackson said.

It was alarming enough that the staff let the man conduct an "inspection." For around 10 minutes, he walked around the store fake-inspecting as the cameras rolled. He was even seen getting onto a fake phone call with a purported boss.

"No, it's a scam," Jackson said. "I didn't authorize anyone to come in here."

The staff said the man even went downstairs at one point to look through the office.

"Thank God it wasn't anything really serious," Jackson said, "but it could have been."

The staff handed the scammer $170 - less than the price he claimed the inspection would cost. But it is what they had in the register at the time.

In reality, the scammer took something more.

"It's like an invasion of privacy," Jackson said. 'It's just taking advantage of innocent people - but more so, just putting my staff at risk again. You know, like, come on."

The owner told CBS 2 she filed a police report. But Chicago Police have not been by to look at the surveillance video – they only took the report over the phone.

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