090127 Police Seek Help to Catch Hamburger Scam Man

January 25, 2009

Simpsonville, NC -- The suspected hamburger flim-flam artist has appeared again, police say, this time convincing a Simpsonville McDonald's to give him $22 after complaining that the restaurant failed to leave onions off his hamburger.

The man has already hit two Greenville cafeterias -- Patewood Memorial Hospital and Fluor Corp. -- over the past several days, Police Cpl. Jason Rampey said.

The hospital cafeteria gave him $58; the Fluor cafeteria didn't give him any money, Rampey said.

The latest case at McDonald's on Fairview Road was reported this week after the restaurant manager saw media reports of similar incidents, according to a Greenville County Sheriff's Office incident report.

The description of the man is more vague in the McDonald's case but generally matches a more-detailed description given to Greenville Police in the other two incidents, Master Deputy Melissia McKinney said.

In each case, the man has complained to cafeteria and restaurant workers that he ordered hamburgers without onions because his son is allergic to onions, according to reports.

The stories vary slightly, but reports say the man then produces a piece of paper with a name and a dollar figure and complains that his son has become seriously ill from eating onions that weren't left off the burgers.

The man insists on being reimbursed for both the food and what he tells employees is the cost for his son to get an allergy shot, according to reports.

The McDonald's was hit on Wednesday, two days after the man's last reported attempt at Fluor, according to a sheriff's incident report.

At the McDonald's, the man demanded to talk with an employee about the purchase of two Big Mac and two Quarter Pounder hamburgers, then handed the worker a piece of paper with the name "James Evans" written on it, according to a report.

The man claimed the kitchen had put onions on his burgers despite requests not to and that the alleged error made his son sick, the report states.

When asked for a receipt and the food, the man said he had neither, according to the report.

The employees asked the man if he would like to be paid back by giving him four new meal combos, but he became "agitated" and the restaurant decided to give him the money so he would he would leave, the report states.

In the hospital case last week, the man told a cafeteria worker that he had spoken with the hospital's president about reimbursement for his son's allergy shot ($27.31) and the cost of the meal ($31.43), according to a police incident report.

The hospital president later told police he never spoke to the man, and cafeteria workers said they didn't remember anyone who ordered more than $20 worth of food the report states.

The suspect in the McDonald's case is described as a white man in his 40s, about 5' 8" tall and 180 pounds -- though the physical description and circumstances of the scam fit a more-detailed description of the man in the other two incidents, McKinney said.

In the previous incidents, the man is described as white, medium build, in his mid-40s, with dirty blonde/light brown hair with a bald spot in the back. The suspect also is described as someone who "bites his fingernails."

The suspect left in a white, four-door car with a sunroof and possible damage to the side window requiring plastic covering.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call 23-CRIME or the police tip line at (864) 271-4273.