Pet store owner: Scam artist targets stores to get bogus refunds

PORLTAND, Ore. - A scam artist is telling an elaborate sob story to con pet stores out of refunds around the Portland metro area, several pet store owners told KATU.

Christine Mallar helps customers every day at her store Green Dog Pet Supply, so when a man recently came in with a problem she wanted to help him solve it.

The man claimed he had bought a bag of food at the store.

"He said 'I've been feeding this food for a long time' and he's got a Rottweiler," Mallar said.

He went on to tell her that the food made his dog sick and that his veterinarian discovered it was tainted.

The man told her the vet opened the bag found mouse feces and urine inside.

"He was sure it didn't come from his house. And there were so many details," Mallar said.

The man said he tried to call the customer service line for the dog food company but that the service was terrible. That's what really caught Mallar's attention.

"Customer service is important to us, so I was very concerned with making this right for him," she said.

In the end, Mallar ended up giving the man a refund for $63. Unfortunately for her, the entire story was sham.

It wasn't until she heard from the food distributor that she got the real story.

"She had said he's hit 14 pet supply stores in the area, seven of which gave him money back," Mallar said.

The man, who goes by Mike, has hit stores around the area, ranging from Portland to Battle Ground, Hillsboro, Gresham and as far south of Salem.

Mallar filed a police report on Sunday and hopes that publicizing the story will keep other small business owners from getting duped.

In Hillsboro, police said their investigative team will start looking into "Mike" on Monday.

The suspect is described as being about 5'7" tall with a stocky build. He has close-cropped hair and a salt-and-pepper mustache.

Police ask anyone who has been victimized to file a police report.