Mesa police arrest suspect in theft scam targeting businesses

Posted: Updated:
Michael A. Sprouse By Jennifer Thomas Michael A. Sprouse By Jennifer Thomas

UPDATE: Sept. 29:

MESA, Ariz. -- Mesa police arrested a suspect in a theft scam after six additional victims came forward.

Michael A. Sprouse, 41, was charged with fraudulent schemes.

Mesa police Detective Michael Melendez said a total of 14 businesses were affected by the scam.

ORIGINAL REPORT -- Mesa police investigate theft scam targeting businesses

MESA, Ariz. -- The Mesa Police Department is warning businesses about a theft scam.

Police say a man has been calling Mesa businesses and identifying himself as a corporate employee or legal consultant of the company.

According to Mesa police Detective Michael Melendez, the man says that his niece or nephew was driving from Texas to California when his or her vehicle broke down in Mesa. The caller requests that an employee of the business deliver between $60 and $240 to his niece or nephew to pay the tow bill.

The caller usually tells the employee that he will pay back the money the following day.

The employee later discovers that the caller is not a corporate employee or legal consultant of the business.

The Mesa Police Department has investigated six similar cases since June. Melendez said the scam has also been reported in Gilbert, Scottsdale and Tempe.

Police continue to investigate the incidents. If you have any information or have been a victim of this scam, contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211.