Charles County Sheriff's Office Warns of Plumber Scam - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles County Sheriff's Office Warns of Plumber Scam

The Charles County Sheriff's Office is cautioning businesses to be aware of a theft scheme in which a man has intentionally flooded restrooms at local establishments and then posses as a plumber and offers to fix the problem for a fee. The man, identified as Timothy Christopher Banks, 36, of Fort Washington, is wanted by the Sheriff's Office in connection with the incidents and detectives are seeking information from any other businesses who may have been victimized.

So far, three businesses have been victimized by the scam since mid-November. The first known incident occurred Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Pizza Hut located at 3400 Leonardtown Road in Waldorf. The suspect entered the restaurant, approached the clerk and inquired about the specials. The telephone rang and when the clerk answered it, the suspect went to into the restroom. He then exited the restaurant and shortly thereafter the clerk discovered the restroom was flooding and a gasket had been stolen from the restroom.

On Dec. 4 at about 5 p.m., the same suspect went to the Arby's at 2680 Crain Highway in Waldorf and offered to fix a plumbing problem employees said did not exist prior to the suspect's arrival. Employees called police when the man began demanding money and the business refused to pay.

The last known incident occurred Dec. 7 about 10:20 p.m. at the American Caf? in St. Charles Towne Center at 11110 Mall Circle in Waldorf. When the bathroom began flooding, the suspect advised he was a plumber and offered to fix the problem. The business accepted the offer and paid him the negotiated fee. However, employees became suspicious of him and contacted the Sheriff's Office and mall security to have him removed from the property. Officers identified the man as Banks banned him from the mall at the business' request.

Detectives responded to the scene and obtained Banks' information. After speaking with detectives, Banks fled in a red Ford Expedition driven by a woman. Detectives later linked the American Caf? incident with the incidents at Pizza Hut and the Waldorf Arby's and began working with the patrol officers investigating those cases. After contacting the Prince George's County Sheriff's Office, detectives learned Banks has been conducting the same scheme in Prince George's County.

Officer K. Evans, who is investigating the Pizza Hut incident, obtained a warrant for Banks' arrest Dec. 21, charging him with malicious destruction of property less than $500 and theft less than $500. Officer K. Klezia is investigating the Arby's incident and charges are pending in that investigation.

Detectives have released photographs of Banks, who is known to wear his hair in two different styles, and are asking other businesses who have been victimized by this scheme to contact Det. J. Elliot at 301-609-6515. If a similar incident occurs, contact the Sheriff's Office at 301-932-2222 in La Plata, 301-932-7777 in Waldorf and 301-743-2222 in Indian Head. Those with information about Banks' whereabouts should also contact the Sheriff's Office.

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