A Kelowna flooring employee questioning a customer’s identification led to the discovery of $100,000 worth of fraudulently purchased merchandise.
On July 5, Kelowna RCMP received a call about someone using a fake ID and a possibly stolen credit card while trying to purchase a great amount of hardwood flooring. The incident unfolded after Peter Kowalski from Kelowna Flooring negotiated a deal with a man named ‘Steve Brown’, who wanted to purchase $30,000 worth of flooring and have it shipped across the country. Per Kelowna Flooring’s policy, customers are required to provide their ID. When Kowalski looked at Brown’s ID, he became suspicious.
Kowalski called the Kelowna RCMP, who confirmed the identification was fraudulent.
Because of this, Kowalski reached out to people he knows who work at other flooring stores in Kelowna. Associates from Express Flooring and Dannberg Flooring confirmed Brown made purchases worth $25,000 from each company.
Dustin Dyck from Express Flooring had a scheduled pick-up planned, which was deemed fraudulent. He informed the RCMP, giving them a chance to interrupt the purchase.
On July 7, when the freight truck arrived at Express to pick up the product, the RCMP stopped the truck and arrested the driver and passenger. They were later released as they had no knowledge of the fraudulent purchases and offences.
In total, the RCMP obtained $100,000 worth of flooring that was all bought fraudulently, with some purchased in Richmond, Kamloops, and Salmon Arm. The freight truck was scheduled to leave Kelowna on Monday, July 10 and make various stops and pick-ups on its way to Quebec. All the businesses where pick-ups were scheduled were notified of the fraud.
“This is a textbook example of why stores should have internal policies as it relates to high-value purchases using credit cards, especially over the phone” Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Michael Gauthier. “Thanks to an observant store owner and cooperation from a few others, we recovered and likely prevented another handful of high-value fraudulent purchases. We rely heavily on the professionals in our community to identify when something doesn’t feel right, and in return only ask that they reach out for our help when it doesn’t.”
The Kelowna RCMP’s investigation is ongoing.