The Dalton Police Department has warrants for the arrest of Annise Timte Smith and Howard Terez Fuller, both from the Atlanta metro area, on charges related to a “quick change” scam that ripped off area stores of cash after the suspects tricked a cashier into giving an incorrect amount of change from a purchase. An investigation showed the pair tried the scam multiple times while in Dalton and they are suspected of perpetrating the same scam at other stores over a three day period, along the I-75 corridor between Atlanta and Illinois. Now investigators are looking for other businesses that may have been victimized.
The incidents in Dalton took place on Oct. 9. After the Dalton Police Department issued a press release on Oct. 12 about a similar scam that took place at the Walnut Avenue Chick-fil-A, a manager from the Dollar General store at 2524 Cleveland Highway contacted police to report being ripped off by two black male suspects, one of whom resembled the suspect in the Chick-fil-A case. The two suspects also attempted the same scam at the Dollar General store at 101 West Walnut Avenue, but they were unsuccessful in fooling the cashier. Investigators determined that the Chick-fil-A incident and the Dollar General incidents were not related.
In the Dollar General incidents, one suspect, later identified as Howard Terez Fuller, 27, of Decatur would act as a look-out while the second suspect, Annise Timte Smith, 29, of Lithonia would attempt to purchase a cheap piece of merchandise with a $100 bill. Smith would then engage the clerk in conversation either about applying for a job or flirting. As the clerk began counting out the change, Smith requested the $100 bill back saying he had exact change. In the case of the Cleveland Highway incident, the confused clerk was tricked into giving back the original bill and also the store’s money in the form of change. Smith and Fuller would then leave with their own money, the store’s money, and the merchandise.
While investigating these incidents, Dalton investigators saw a bulletin posted on a national crime intelligence service from police in Effingham, Il., alerting law enforcement that two men from the Atlanta area had been arrested there Oct. 11 after performing the same scam at five Dollar General stores in their area.
After confirming that the men in custody in Illinois were also the men suspected in Dalton, DPD investigators canvassed Dollar General stores and other locations throughout the city and county and discovered that Fuller and Smith had visited eight Dollar General stores in our area on Oct. 9, and also two CVS pharmacies. They attempted the scam at five of the stores and were successful at the 2417 Airport Road Dollar General, the 2524 Cleveland Highway Dollar General, and the CVS at 2791 Cleveland Highway. In each case, they left with a small amount of merchandise, approximately $95 in the store’s money, and their original $100 bill. The pair traveled in a white 2012 Nissan Sentra.
The Dalton Police Department has warrants for the arrest of Howard Fuller for 14 counts of criminal attempt to commit a misdemeanor, eighteen counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, and four counts of being party to a crime. The department also has warrants for Annise Smith’s arrest for two counts of theft by deception, two counts of theft by shoplifting, 14 counts of criminal attempt to commit a misdemeanor, and eighteen counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor.
The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office also has warrants for the pair for the scam at a CVS pharmacy in the county.
Both men bonded out in Illinois, and Fuller was later arrested in Rockdale County and is awaiting being brought to Whitfield County.
Because the pair traveled from Atlanta to the Effingham, Il. area between Oct. 9 and their arrest on Oct. 11, investigators believe that they could have pulled the same scam numerous times in other cities along the I-75 corridor. Dalton investigators are asking anyone who believes they may have been victims of the same scam, particularly at Dollar General and CVS stores, to contact Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085, extension 9189.