A team of four people scouring parking lots for cash receipts in order to get refunds now face charges by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
The four people hit 14 gas stations and grocery stores Tuesday, according to the sheriff's office, where they would find a food receipt for items paid with cash, then walk into the store asking to be refunded the cash and instead charge the amount to their EBT food stamp card. Most stores refused, and at least three complied, according to the sheriff's office.
The four charged, according to the sheriff's offce, with scheme to defraud are:
- Brandie Horsley, 29, 4030 Nelson Ave.
- Thomas Harrison, 45, 4011 Nelson Ave.
- David Walshaw, 36, 4030 Nelson Ave.
- James Buck, 30, 4030 Nelson Ave.
Deputies spotted the group as they arrived at the Cattleman Road Walmart on Cattlemen Road in Sarasota and scattered throughout the parking lot, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies thought the four would burglarize vehicles but quickly realized they sought discarded receipts for food items purchased with cash.
Deputies observed Harrison walking to the nearby Publix at Bee Ridge and Cattleman, and then the other three arrived and had Horsley walk inside and get cash from customer service, explaining she had left her EBT card at home, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The group repeated similar acts at several area Publix and Sweetbay markets as well as the Winn-Dixie on Fruitville Road, according to the affidavit, but most stores refused.
Food stamp regulations could also result in the card holder/food stamp recipient to have their food stamp benefits revoked.
The sheriff's office says that all have criminal histories and additional charges are pending.