Police in Murphy are looking for two couples they suspect in a series of “distract and grab” crimes.
According to Chief GM Cox, they are suspects in 18 thefts or attempted thefts over the past two weeks.
Most of the crimes have happened along F.M. 544, the city’s central business area.
At Country Burger, employees were able to foil the suspects, according to owner Janis McNeely.
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“[My employee told me] ‘I knew immediately something was up’,” she said, of when a man walked into the restaurant and tried to pay for a small drink with a $100 bill, being very particular about his change.
“[My employee] starts counting the change and the guy was like, oh, your $20s are wrinkled, I don’t want them,” she said.
The man refused to hand over his money and reached for the extra cash, McNeely said, but her employee held his ground and the man left.
According to Chief Cox, the suspects always ask for change for a large bill, then, distract the clerk, often by asking for brand new bills.
They then grab the money on the counter, or, in some cases, reach for the open cash register.
“While they’re getting change, they’ll make a conversation, the two partners will distract,” he said. “People are really busy, distracted, easily distracted. I think that’s what they’re capitalizing on.”
The thieves have been successful six times out of 18.
Police say they’re looking for two different couples, each with an African American man and woman.
Witnesses have described their getaway car as a small, silver four door sedan.
People with information should call (972) 468-4200 or text “84711” and put “Murphy” in the body of the text.