Teen games worker arrested at Carowinds for allegedly stealing money

Posted Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:34 PM | Contributed by Jeff

A 17-year-old Carowinds worker was caught Sunday putting money visitors paid to play an amusement park game into his shoe, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office report.

Read more from The Herald.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:48 PM

Dumbass.

Really, is there anything else left to be said?

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:50 PM

Nope, but I'm going to say nope anyways ;).

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 3:02 PM

Does Carowinds use the dropboxes (bubbles) at their games? I would think they would prevent such foolishness as long as a) the player actually puts the money into the dropbox and b) the operator doesn't have a way to get into the drop.

I noted last time I played a game at Kings Island and needed change - the operator gave me back all my money in smaller bills and specifically had me drop the money for my game into the slot.

In theory the dollar value of the apron should remain constant no matter how many or few plays they have. Of course, I can see it now "Hey bud, the sign says $3 a ball, but if you just give me the money, I'll sell them to you for $1 each." Or something like that. I also think Kings Island has casino style eye-in-the-sky cameras mounted over their games as well.

At least that's better than the meters at Cedar Point. (Well of course the meter is going to show exactly what the operator wants it to show, you don't think he's going to ring the bell for the money he is going to pocket, do you?), or worse carnivals where there is no apparent audit trail.

But greed being what it is, I'm actually surprised we don't hear of this more often.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 3:07 PM

When I was a teen, I worked at a local Putt-Putt course. On of the other employees did this very same thing. Sometimes he would take the customers money, but not give them their play ticket. So the used tickets and the register count still reconciled each night. And we usually worked solo, so he thought his little plan was perfect. But the owner quicly noticed that sales were way down whenever that employee worked and he was quickly caught.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 3:14 PM

Coasterville Dave said:
But greed being what it is, I'm actually surprised we don't hear of this more often.

I was thinking along similar, but different, lines.

We hear about the ones dumb enough to get caught - the ones poor at being thieves.

How many do we never hear about because they're good at making the money disappear?

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 3:15 PM

You never hear about the good ones...

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 8:43 PM

Curious what the age of being an adult for crime is in North Carolina ? Alot of states are age 17 including Illinois where no matter what kind of crime you commit, you are considered an adult.

Very foolish, ruining your life at such a young age.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 9:21 PM

It seems like one of these storys comes along every year.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 10:11 PM

I don't know what "breach of trust" is, but it sure doesn't sound like a felony to me. I doubt he has ruined his life.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010 10:49 PM

It mentioned the one kid who was stealing by rounding every customer's purchase to the nearest dollar (up, I suppose). I'm surprised that he got away with that one for so long, and that so many customers didn't call him on it.

If you were one of his customers would you
a) tell him that you were overcharged
b) blow it off, figuring it was less than a dollar
c) have no clue how to do the math to figure out the correct price anyway?

Personally, I would do a). Sure it's only a few cents, but the agreed price is the agreed price, not an estimate. Besides, I've also corrected cashiers who have given me too much changed or charged me the wrong price, either high or low. I'd especially do a) if I was in line behind a few people and happened to notice that everyone's orders were coming up to an even price.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010 2:00 AM

The average American citizen would fall into the C group.

Sad, but dependence on machines has cost most the ability to do simple math.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010 9:54 AM

I think "breach of trust" is, as Jeff implies, a way of saying theft and embezzlement that doesn't necesarily bring with it the dark cloud of a felony charge. Call it showing compassion?

The kid's take on the scam, $31 the day he got caught. Not exactly grand theft, and perhaps while the park had suspicons of past fraud, they also had no evidence linking the kid back to same.

I also recall spening time at Putt Putt Golf and Games and would agree, if the person was buying a one game ticket, or buying a 3 game ticket to split between three people, why would they care if they got the useless piece of paper. The ticket only is meaningful at that point if it has unused punches on it. As long as I get my golf ball and putter I'm happy. I can see where that would be an easy target, again mostly cash business. Wonder if owner/management types ever think to count the balls that wind up in the locked hopper of the 18th hole. I say that because the other scam that can be run there is not punching the players ticket for every game redeemed. Then at our location, the first person to get a hole in one when the light was flashing got a free game. (And also an orange ball so it was a once per game deal) The players were the ones who knew how to work that one.

As far as the scenario with the food cart, its actually not as absurd as it sounds. I know parks that price things with seemingly screwy prices $1.17 comes to mind or 94 cents or the like, prices that are designed to come out to an even dollar or quarter once the tax is applied. I don't know the sales tax rate in Carowinds (and does it differ based on what side of The Line you are on?) If I saw $3.73 on the sign for a Coke and the person told me $4 I would figure the taxing authorities of Charlotte got the other 27 cents. That's what is great about carts that use registers and give out receipts. I've noticed that at carts that work out of aprons, prices usually are to the dollar just to make the math easy for the attendant.

There is a reason why there are signs about "come to Guest Relations if you aren't given a recepit or the amount shown on the receipt differs from the price you paid"

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Friday, September 3, 2010 4:40 PM

It's bad enough to charge $4.00 if the bill was really $3.98. He stole more than $500 over two seasons. So it's also likely there were bills around $19.12 that he charged $20.00. In a case like that, you figure the customer is being charged $2.00 or more above the posted price on the menu-- or more than 10%. While it's not excusable that the kid stole money from customers-- it wasn't rightly the park's money either, it's also not excusable that so many people don't have a clue what they should actually be paying for a product.

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Friday, September 3, 2010 5:21 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
...it's also not excusable that so many people don't have a clue what they should actually be paying for a product.

Maybe a few cents just don't matter to a lot of people?

Honestly, the red flag for me would be the even numbers. But if the kid was making my 19.12 bill into 19.87 or 19.93 or something, I wouldn't even catch it. I wouldn't think twice. Hell, I wouldn't even care.

The kid can have my 80 cents. I'm probably rounding it to $20 in my records anyway.

I don't think it's about what you should be paying to the exact penny, it's about the cost in general.

It's around $19 or $20. If that's $19.12 or $20, it doesn't matter. It's in that range and I suspect most people aren't going to bat an eye.

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Friday, September 3, 2010 7:12 PM

I guess that's where we're different. I would be thinking two things-- first, it's not just my 20 or 50 or 80 cents, but possibly that amount for every customer he serves. He could be making hundreds of dollars every day, through ripping people off. Not through hard work or entrepreneurship, unless you call taking advantage of people's ignorance entrepreneurship.

Secondly, I'd think, if I said it's no big deal with every transaction I made, how much would that cost me in a week? A month? A year? Giving up even half an extra dollar each time means I'm out hundreds at the end of the year. What could I do with a few hundred bucks that I couldn't if I paid extra every time I bought something?

I don't think it's being miserly or cheap. The park assigns prices, which I'm willing to pay in exchange for the product. I also understand that a state sales tax is usually added. No problem. I'll pay the advertised price, but no more. Unless I'm in a tipping situation, which this obviously is not.

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Friday, September 3, 2010 7:38 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
I'd think, if I said it's no big deal with every transaction I made, how much would that cost me in a week? A month? A year? Giving up even half an extra dollar each time means I'm out hundreds at the end of the year. What could I do with a few hundred bucks that I couldn't if I paid extra every time I bought something?

Yeah, it adds up. Like I mentioned, I keep track of our accounts that way. I round everything up. It's a lot of fun when I get around to 'making it right' once or twice a year.

But the rub is that it's not happening everywhere you go. It's happening once. I can totally understand how it could be overlooked and not matter.

I recently read a story about a group who lifted millions in fraudulent credit card charges. They did it not by hitting the card with any significant amounts. Usually it was under a dollar and they did it over the course of several years hitting many of the cards multiple times.

Most people never even noticed or thought it was just a random fee or small purchase they forgot about or that a spouse made or whatnot.

I think most people are like that.

The park assigns prices, which I'm willing to pay in exchange for the product. I also understand that a state sales tax is usually added. No problem. I'll pay the advertised price, but no more.

Yeah, obviously.

But do you work out the exact math? For real?

I know if I'm buying 2 burgers, a chicken fingers a sausage, 4 fries and drinks that the price is going to be roughly $40. I don't add it up exactly and I don't account for tax. I wouldn't even know the tax rate at most of the parks I visit.

If the kid says anything even remotely close to that $40, I'm not flinching.

...unless you call taking advantage of people's ignorance entrepreneurship.

Well, it is rather clever. ;)

And I don't think it's ignorance at all. It's just that not everybody (I'd say a majority, but it's irrelevant) is anal retentive enough to pre-figure their bill to the penny.

--

EDIT - I spell goodest of all

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, September 3, 2010 7:38 PM
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Friday, September 3, 2010 8:11 PM

Coasterville Dave said:
But greed being what it is, I'm actually surprised we don't hear of this more often.

It actually happens quite a bit but doesn't make the news. One of my roomates when I worked at a park was in loss prevention so heard about it a lot. Most park guests will try to hand over money for the game unless told to put it in the drop box. So it's not hard for someone making minimum wage to think about cashing in on this. Another issue is a guy will try to buy a prize while the girlfriend is in the bathroom if they couldn't beat the game.

The other major area for employee theft is parks is parking.

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Monday, September 6, 2010 9:40 AM

Lord Gonchar said:

But do you work out the exact math? For real?

I always look at my receipt.

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Monday, September 6, 2010 11:41 AM

1. I'm not sure all food stands give out receipts by deafult.

2. The employee could 'forget" to give a receipt.

3. $500 in the kid's pocket says that not everyone does.

Again, consider me ignorant if you must, but I'm not catching every dime, nickel and penny that leaves my hands during my day at the park. Hell, we've been to Carowinds a couple times since 2008. We're probably in the group that got taken. :)

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