Posted on Facebook by the police in the city of Seguin, Texas, it appears that someone with sleight of hand skills is short changing cashiers at Walmarts around the United States. The poster takes a wry approach, though I don’t know if David Blaine would appreciate the call out. Here’s their post:
“Penn & Teller- watch out. Seguin has their very own magician on the rise.
On January 10 and February 12, Seguin’s next David Blaine made a stop at Walmart for a quick magic show. Sadly, only he knew about the performance.
The pictured magician quick changed employees of Walmart out of a total of $2700. Quick changing is when a suspect uses a slight of hand trick while counting out their change to pocket money. The suspect will count out the change showing the employee that he was short changed while he uses his other hand to pocket a portion of the money.
“Both a magician & a fashionista- this individual changed for his performance and is pictured during both incidents.
“If you recognize this individual or have any further information regarding this incident, please contact Det. Schramm at 830-379-2123 so he can book him… for his next magic performance, of course.
“It looks like our Walmart magician doesn’t keep his performance local.
“Our post caught nationwide attention. Due to the amount of shares & media coverage, law enforcement agencies from Georgia, Tennessee, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia contacted SPD regarding similar cases with our newly famous magician.
“Our magician keeps this performance the same across the country:
-Enters a retail store (such as Walmart) to make a wire transfer or return a high value item.
-When the cashier gives the cash to the suspect, he claims he was not given the proper change back.
-The suspect begins counting the change back, while palming the rest.
-While counting the change back, the suspect uses various distraction techniques on the cashier.
“Thanks to everyone who shared our post, we are working with multiple agencies on making an identification.
“This investigation is currently on going.
“For media inquiries, please contact Officer Wallace at 830-865-6409.
“For law enforcement inquiries, please contact Detective Schramm at 830-379-2123.
Like any tool or skill, the power of sleight of hand can be used for good or evil. And while fooling people is perfectly fine when magicians use illusion to entertain, it’s a whole other issue when people use this power to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
The latter happened in mid-December at a Walmart in Sarasota, Florida. In a report by Florida NBC affiliate WFLA, a woman used misdirection and sleight of hand on a hapless cashier to confuse them then pocket hundreds of dollars in cash. You can see exactly what happened in the security video posted to WFLA’s Facebook page, embedded below:
In order to find out exactly what the con artist did to get away with this crime, WFLA found local Sarasota magician Toby Ballantine and showed him the video.
“She has a move and she’s doing the move over and over,” he tells WFLA while watching the surveillance footage. “I think she got away with it.”
While Ballantine notices the woman’s talent for misdirection, he is sure to set the record straight on what he thinks of this act: “It’s terrible, disreputable, and it has nothing to do with entertainment.”
You can check out the full video report and interview at WFLA’s website. Our advice to the perpetrator? Drop the life of crime and try being a magician instead; you’ve probably got a future in prestidigitation ahead of you.