'Confusion Bandit' strikes Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - He may look like a friendly, elderly man, but the criminal duping D.C. merchants is a bandit. And his weapon of choice? Complete and utter confusion.

On Tuesday evening, he walked into a Dupont Circle boutique asking for a candle for his granddaughter. He then pulled out a $100 dollar bill and struck up a conversation with the clerk.

"He talks a lot," described a witness. "He wanted to know the cashier's birthday, how she was doing that day..."

The cashier rang up his purchase and handed him his change. But then he told the clerk she gave him too much money and to count it again before asking to see the $100 dollar bill.

He then slipped it into his pocket and walked out with both the bill and his change, while talking to and continuously distracting the cashier.

"I think it was all the confusion..." another witness said.

Police say he has used the same M.O. at least three times in the past several weeks, hitting Adams Morgan and the Petworth neighborhood in addition to convenience stores.

"I think it's interesting he's been successful at it, and has gotten away with it for as long as he has," said D.C. resident Nicole Hatch.

It may be his unassuming look -- in addition to his gift of gab.

"I hope to get this guy off the streets -- he's been hurting local businesses," said Laura Clise, District resident.