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Pair arrested in multi-state Walmart scam

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Synczre Amir Dyson, 19, was brought from the Marion County Jail to the Alachua County Jail on May 27 on warrants for three cases in which he and three other co-defendants allegedly scammed Walmart cashiers out of thousands of dollars.

The scam consisted of using a debit card to buy a small item, such as a drink, at a register. When the transaction was declined, they allegedly told the cashier that the card would only process as a cash transaction. In an “aggressive manner that confused the cashier,” they told the cashier to hit the cash button on the register, then pull cash out of the register and add it to the transaction, like a debit purchase. The cashier would then hand the cash to one of the men, but no card transaction was recorded. Their method allegedly allowed them to obtain as much as $500 in cash per transaction.

During one transaction, the defendants allegedly tried to use their method to “buy” two laptops, but the cashier was suspicious and called over a manager. One of the men could be seen “getting upset and aggressive” and attempting to walk off with the laptops, but he was stopped by the manager, and the laptops were retrieved. The man allegedly tried to convince the manager that he was using the debit card to purchase the laptops, but he was ultimately denied.

The same defendants were arrested in Ocala in December for running the same scam at a Walmart in Ocala, and they reportedly had receipts from Gainesville Walmart stores in their possession. According to Ocala Police Department, the group has run the same scam in multiple states between Flint, Michigan, and Ocala.

Dyson has been charged with three incidents in Gainesville in December of 2021 and is being held on $90,000 bail.

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One of the other defendants, Dedric Willis-Jackson, 20, was picked up in a jail in Tennessee on April 19 and brought to the Alachua County jail on charges in five Gainesville cases. He has reached a plea deal on three counts of Scheme to Defraud and was sentenced to 150 days in jail with credit for 84 days served, followed by 18 months of probation, with adjudication withheld. The defendants together will owe restitution of $3,636 to Walmart stores in Gainesville.

The two other defendants were minors at the time of the scam, and no information is available on their status.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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