Shoppers who allegedly helped themselves to extra cash distributed by a malfunctioning self-checkout register at a Florida Walmart are now being sought by police, who say the group made off with over $1,000.
Members of a group of eight people who were shopping at the department store discovered that a self-checkout register was dispensing $20 bills instead of $5 bills after it incorrectly spit out the larger notes just after midnight Saturday, Winter Haven Police said.
Surveillance footage released by police and obtained by Fox 29 shows a man scanning two items at the register, paying cash and then walking off.
He returns to the register as another member of the party checks out and also receives the more valuable return change, the video shows.
“They appear to compare the bills and obviously see that the change given back was incorrect,” police said in a statement. “Finding this obvious windfall, honest people would immediately alert the sales associate to the error — but not this group.”
The group went on pay for more small items, such as candy and gum, in an effort to receive change that would normally include $5, “knowing they would instead receive a $20 bill,” cops said.
The alleged scheme went on for more than 20 minutes, and the group collected $1,100 due to the error, officials said.
Eventually, the store noticed the error and an audit found that $20 bills had been put in a slot where $5 bills were supposed to be.
Police released images of the individuals they say are responsible for taking the cash, noting that they traveled to the store in a black four-door car and a silver or gray four-door car.
The group also had children in tow, including a girl between 13 and 15 years old, a boy between 10 and 12 years old and a boy who appeared to be about 5 years old.
“Let's just hope the little ones didn't really understand the gravity of what had occurred,” police wrote.
Anyone with information on the identities of any of those pictured is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward, authorities said.