ST. GEORGE — A package containing $30,000 in cash was intercepted before it ended up in the hands of a fraudster, thanks to an alert business owner and a tenacious officer in Mesquite.
The Mesquite Police Department posted information on social media regarding a scam that had a happy ending, thanks to alert employees that called police when a suspicious package was dropped off at the Mesquite Business Center on Riverside Road to be shipped overnight.
St. George News reached out to one of the owners of the business, Pat Galliher, who provided the background of the story.
On Wednesday, an elderly woman came into the business with a magazine that she said needed to be mailed to Jamaica, New York, using an overnight service.
The customer paid for the shipping and left the magazine along with the recipient’s information with the owner’s wife, Suzy Galliher, before leaving the shop.
The magazine was very bulky, Pat Galliher said, and “it just didn’t feel right,” to his wife as she prepared the package for shipping. Moreover, the urgency of the request to send a magazine across the country so quickly also seemed odd.
“The entire situation seemed strange, and something felt off,” he said.
When the owner opened the pages of the magazine before placing it in the shipping envelope, she saw $100 bills that were taped to the pages, 300 in total, which is when she decided to call the police.
An officer responded to the shipping store where he was given the customer’s information while speaking to the owners. Shortly thereafter he went to the elderly woman’s residence to inquire about the package.
While there, the woman received a phone call from the same individual who directed her to mail the package, and she handed the phone to the officer who also spoke to the suspect before the call was terminated.
The officer explained the situation to the elderly woman and told her the magazine was never shipped and was being held at the shipping store for her to pick it up. The officer returned to the store to advise the owners of the scam, and he told them the customer would be in contact shortly.
The customer returned to the store a short while later and picked up the magazine.
“We also refunded her the shipping since the package was never sent,” Pat Galliher said.
He said there are a number of scams involving the mailing or shipping of packages, so they are aware of many of the scams currently circulating.
Another scam they saw involved the sale of a cell phone, he said. A young woman arrived at the store to ship a cell phone and told the employees that she would need the tracking number right away, adding that she had to give that number to an individual over the phone as soon as they provided it.
Being aware of the “cell phone scam,” Pat Galliher said he gave her the tracking number but told her he would hold on to the package until he heard back from her to let him know it was legitimate.
She called him back a short time later, he said, telling him that as soon as she gave the tracking number to the individual over the phone, the caller hung up. And when she tried to call the number back, she discovered the number had been spoofed, and it was not a real contact number.
She returned to the store shortly thereafter and picked up the cell phone and the store refunded her shipping fees.
“It all comes down to people watching out for each other, particularly the elderly, and being decent human beings,” The store owner said.
This is something the couple takes very seriously, as does their staff, he added.
He also commended the efforts on the part of the officer that responded that day who took the time to go out to the customer’s home to help her.
The Mesquite Police Department’s post said the incident was closed with “a happy ending thanks to observant business owners.”
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