Home Police, Fire & Courts Brick PD: Coupon Scammers Swindled $1,475 in Merchandise

Brick PD: Coupon Scammers Swindled $1,475 in Merchandise

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A couple accused of using fraudulent coupons at Stop and Shop. (Photo: Brick Twp. Police)
A couple accused of using fraudulent coupons at Stop and Shop. (Photo: Brick Twp. Police)

A woman and man have been formally charged in a scam in which they used phony UPC codes to obtain $1,475 in merchandise from local Stop & Shop stores.

Sgt. Neal Pedersen said the suspects have been identified as Melissa Scheller, 32, and Ben Lugo, 29, both of South Toms River.

The pair have been charged for their involvement in thefts totaling $1, 475. The thefts, Pedersen said, were related to fraudulent UPC codes that allowed them to repeatedly deduct from their total purchase price.

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“The suspects were able to scan the fraudulent UPC code repeatedly to significantly reduce the total sum of their purchase,” Pedersen said.

Each transaction resulted in thefts ranging from between $50 and $200 per incident.

Brick Police Detective Robert Shepherd arrested and charged Scheller with theft by deception; bail was set by Judge Robert Lepore in the amount of $20,000 cash.

Lugo faces the same charges, and is the subject of an active warrant, Pedersen said.