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Alleged Copper Thief Con Man Caught On Camera

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) - There's a safety warning for business owners after a robber convinced an employee at a Fort Lauderdale roof company to give him $8500 worth of copper sheets.

That criminal was captured on surveillance tape after the incident last Friday around noon at Advanced Roofing at 1950 Northwest 22nd Street.

CBS4's Peter D'Oench has learned the same man tried the same "con" last Wednesday at Colonial Press at 3690 Northwest 50th Street in Hialeah.

"He was nosing around at our business for about 15 minutes and just like the Fort Lauderdale company, he asked employees to load up some items in his truck. But they refused. He left and we filed a report with Hialeah Police," said Chris Seruga, a manager at Colonial Press.

Seruga, whose business is located on the Hialeah-Miami border, has notified managers at Advanced Roofing that the same criminal tried to rip him off. "I know that because the video of him that was posted on line and also broadcast," said Seruga. "It's the same guy."

The criminal is captured on 16 surveillance cameras at Advanced Roofing. He is seen arriving in a late model, white Ford F-250 or F-350 truck.

Bob Cargain, an employee of Advanced Roofing, told D'Oench, "There was damage on the body of the driver's side of the truck."

Cargain said he won't forget the criminal who was wearing light-colored baggy pants and a headband with a brim. He is about 5 feet 6 inches tall and in his thirties.

"He had short cropped hair that was light in color, maybe close to brown or light blonde," said Cargain, who saw the con man.

Advanced Roofing owner Rob Kornahrens said the con man originally said he wanted to pick up some scrap metal and was able to talk his way past a number of employees to the rear of the business, where copper sheets are stacked.

"The gentleman came in the yard and went right back to the mechanic shop and past the office building to the 2nd building on our property," he said. "He went inside the mechanic shop and the lead mechanic was not there because he was having lunch with me. He was then sent to the back by a junior guy and he went in back looking for scrap. He was pointed to a small dumpster by an employee who did not know he was a con man."

Kornahrens said, "The man then said I need a forklift so an employee went back inside to get the forklift. Then the guy went around and said he needed two big pallets. So the forklift guy drove it outside and loaded it into his truck and he then pulled out of the yard."

"What could we have done about this?" asked the owner. "Perhaps more paperwork or more employees thinking with their feet. This happened around lunchtime when a number of employees who would have normally caught this were not there."

Kornahrens said he was not insured for his loss and was stunned by the criminal who was at his business for less than ten minutes.

"It's bad," he said. "You don't feel good when there are people out there like that. We do a lot for the community and give a lot back and to have this happen is not a good thing. It's worth convincing all employees that if someone doesn't look like they belong, then question that."

The reward is up to $2,000.

"I am offering $1,000 of my own in addition to the normal Crime Stoppers reward" of up to $1,000, said Kornahrens.

He said he wanted the public to study the criminal's face and behavior and the type of truck he was driving.

"That truck could be the key to this case," he said. "That white F-250 or F-350," he said. "I hope people recognize him or the truck."

Steps have been taken to catch the criminal.

Kornahrens said the city has sent out notices to scrap yards and other roofing companies have been notified as well.

If you can help, call Fort Lauderdale Police or Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477).


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