Police today released photos of the man who scammed two Princeton coffee shops out of almost $1,000 this week. The man claimed to be a “fire extinguisher inspector.”
On March 24, a manager at the Dunkin Donuts on Nassau Street reported that the previous evening, a man tricked him into paying $378 in cash by saying he was a fire extinguisher inspector from Metro Fire Prevention at 1485 State Street in Trenton. He proceeded to “service” their fire extinguishers. He is described as white, bald, 6’2″, about 40 years old, and heavy set. He was wearing khaki colored chino pants, a gray polo style shirt, and a black baseball cap.
In a second incident, the man entered Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street and also portrayed himself as a fire extinguisher inspector. The manager on duty said the man asked to inspect the interior fire extinguishers to ensure that they were up to date. He provided two handwritten receipts charging a total of $476.70 for his services, which he collected in cash from the manager.
He also approached an employee at the Bent Spoon on Palmer Square, police said.
The company “Metro Fire Prevention” and the addresses provided are fictitious, police said. Police said the suspect wrote on sales invoices and used language that made it seem like he knew what he was talking about, so they speculate that there is a possibility he is a recently fired employee from a fire protection company, or works for one and is scamming people for extra money.
Police are still investigating the cases and are asking any other victims of the scam to come forward. If you have information regarding the scam, contact Det. Sgt. Ben Gering at 609-921-2100, ext. 1840 or Det. Adam Basatemur at 609-921-2100, ext. 2170.