Police: Man scammed string of restaurants out of fake refunds

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Austin Police arrested a man they suspect is responsible for a string of scam thefts in which he would pose as restaurant owners or managers to deceive workers into giving him fake refunds, according to a police affidavit.

Police said Kevin Reese, 51, is responsible for a string of at least six deceptions beginning in November 2017 and ending in March.

In the last incident on March 18, police said Reese called Mama Fu’s Restaurant at 100 Colorado Street and posed as the president and CEO of the restaurant group.

He told the worker who answered the phone that a customer was overcharged nearly $400 and would need a refund, according to police documents.

Later in the day, a person arrived at Mama Fu’s, claimed to be that person and was given the money in cash, charging papers claim.

The next day, the restaurant’s general manager was alerted of the cash refund and reported to police that it was provided under false pretense.

Using surveillance video obtained from Mama Fu’s, police said they were able to match the surveillance video from similar incidents at Voodoo Donuts, Tiff’s Treats and Mr. Gatti’s Pizza. Police said a yogurt shop and Enoteca Vespaio Italian Restaurant were also victims.

Reese was arrested on March 19 and still remains in the Travis County Jail charged with five counts of Theft of Property Less than $2,500 2 Plus Previous Convictions, Parole Violation and Fail to ID Fugitive. His charges have a combined bond of $73,500.

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