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Fake Fire Chief Scams Business In Rye With Bogus Inspection, Fee; 'It's Something That Everyone Should Be Looking Out For'

RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Police in suburban Rye are attempting to identify an accused phony fire chief.

He scammed a local business and may strike again.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reports, it happened around closing time Friday, Oct. 8, at Playa Bowls in downtown Rye. A fire chief stopped in for an inspection, armed with a yellow pad. He performed a walk-through, before collecting a $500 cash fee.

Problem is, police say this fire chief was a phony - a scammer, not an inspector.

"It was an impressive execution, I'll give him credit for that,"  said Jarrod Jackette, owner of Playa Bowls.

Jackette says the guy was good. When the clerk said she had to call Jackette to fill him in, the fake fire chief said fine, and even got on the phone.

"He was like 'I'll be back next Wednesday, 2 o'clock.' I was like, 'Alright, fine, I'll see you then.'  Then he proceeded to give her the phone back, presented her with receipts, and said, 'Your boss said it was OK, you can just pay me for these now.' So she took the money out of the register, paid him and he left," Jackette said.

It didn't take long to determine they had been burned by the phony fire chief.

Rye police want to know if he's struck any other businesses. The store is a short hop from I-95. It's possible the man was just passing through, and has moved on.

The owner says in just a few short months since they opened, fake Con Ed workers and fake exterminators have tried to scam the store.

"It's something that everyone should be looking out for, because it's very difficult, especially if things are happening quickly. Maybe you're not used to this, you could easily to fall prey to it," Jackette said.

Crimes that can really cost a business.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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