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January 8, 2011

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Man with golden touch

HOW do you get department stores to hand over gold bars worth thousands without paying? Sounds like mission impossible. But one man managed it in Shanghai.

Police described yesterday how he managed to walk away with 10 gold bars from four stores in the city using forged payment receipts.

The gold, weighing a total of 2 kilograms, was worth more than 621,000 yuan (US$93,681).

A suspect, surnamed Lu, has been detained, police said.

On December 25, police said, Lu approached the jewelry counter in a department store on Nanjing Road E., asking to buy one 300-gram gold bar and two at 100 grams.

Lu then took the shop slips and went toward the cashier, pretending he was going to pay the bill. A couple of minutes later, he came back with a printed receipt and invoice and left the store with the gold bars in his shoulder bag.

By the time the assistant realized the invoice and receipt were counterfeit, Lu had disappeared, police said.

Shortly after that, Lu scammed another two stores on Nanjing Road in the same way, police said. Earlier, he had also taken gold bars from a store in the Wujiaochang area of Yangpu District, taking the total haul to 10 bars.

Police identified the suspect after checking surveillance cameras in the department stores and on the Metro. The 33-year-old, from Shandong Province, was also spotted on a video recorded at a city railway station. Lu was found to have arrived by train from Kunshan in Jiangsu Province and had left Shanghai after the crimes. Lu was caught at 10am last Friday in north China's Tianjin City.

Police said that Lu had confessed to the gold scam.

He told them he had visited the city to go to the Expo in October and had bought an Expo gold bar at the Nanjing Road department store.

Lu had noticed that the shop assistant did not check the receipt carefully, and that gave him the idea for his swindle.

Back in Kunshan, he began to prepare forged receipts by making copies of real ones he had obtained in stores.

Lu paid close attention to the gold price every day to calculate the best time for his crime so that the price on the forged receipts would match.

Lu had also carefully planned his route to connect the stores, police said.


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