Nov 8, 2013 11:35 AM by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News
Santa Barbara Police and firefighters are warning locals about a scam in our area.
Police say Michael Angelo Carrion, 47, of New York, posed as a Santa Barbara Fire Inspector, conducted a mock inspection, and then charged the victim for the inspection.
Carrion is already in custody in New York state for unrelated charges.
According to police, Carrion went into a restaurant on the north end of Santa Barbara on October 4th. He contacted an on-duty clerk and told the clerk he was a Santa Barbara City Fire Inspector. Then, he claimed he had to do a business inspection because of local Fire Code ordinances and that he had already cleared it with the restaurant manager. The clerk gave Carrion access behind the restaurant's front counter, and Carrion spent several minutes looking at fire extinguishers. After the inspection, he gave the clerk several receipts charging over $900 for the service. He told the clerk he had to be paid in cash. The clerk called his manager to confirm that Carrion needed to be paid. The manager spoke to Carrion over the phone and authorized the clerk to pay him cash from the register. When the manager went to the restaurant later, he realized the inspection was a fraud.
A crime lab technician used fingerprints from the scene to identify Carrion as the suspect in the case.
Police were also able to determine Carrion had been arrested in Los Angeles by CHP on October 5th. He was wanted in New York State so he was taken back to New York. Once he is cleared in New York, he will face punishment for his crimes in Santa Barbara.
Police believe this was an isolated incident.
Firefighters are reminding locals they do conduct inspections, but they don't charge a fee at the time of the inspection and they won't take cash for any reason. If you ever have any questions regarding an inspection, call the Santa Barbara Fire Department directly at (805) 564-5702.
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