The suspect has not claimed any affiliation with any specific company or governmental entity, usually stating he is there to inspect a leaky roof or check the fire sprinkler system, police Lt. Mohammad Rafaqat said. The suspect usually carries a clipboard with papers and red-colored camera.
The suspect has been taking, or pretending to take, photos of the roof and working his way into the back of the business. He has been seen exiting the businesses with a coat or jacket over his arm, concealing the victims’ purses under it.
The suspect has targeted businesses with a high of volume of customers, which keeps the employees busy at the front of the stores. Typical businesses targeted by the suspect have been Starbucks and hair/nail salons.
The suspect is described as a white male, 35 to 45 years of age and 250 pounds with a heavy build. He might have unknown types of blemishes on his face. He does not wear any official uniform and is usually dressed in jeans.
Reno city officials caution businesses to be suspicious of anyone not wearing appropriate credentials or not in appropriate or official uniform. People also should beware of anyone who shows up without an appointment. A legitimate inspector will have an appointment.
Businesses should always ask for the person's identification and the name of their company. If there is any doubt, have them wait while you call their company for confirmation and do not allow them access to unauthorized areas.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call the Reno Police Department's Detective Division at 334-2115 or the Secret Witness at 322-4900.