More than a dozen pizzerias in New Jersey have been hit by a scammer who places large orders of pizza for law enforcement or hospitals dealing with the coronavirus pandemic but never pays or even shows up to pick up the order, MyCentralJersey reported.
South Brunswick police believe Sudeep Khetani, 34 — who once lived in South Brunswick — is making the calls from Florida using a Voice Over IP (VOIP) network or a service to disguise his phone number.
Investigators were able to track his identity, however, and believe he’s in the Orlando area, where he is on probation for selling fake Disney World tickets.
South Brunswick police are working with Florida authorities to track him down. Khetani is currently charged with theft, but police said detectives are looking to see if he could be charged with cyber harassment.
Additionally, some of pizza restaurants were able to contact him when he didn’t show up to pick up his order and reported that he made disparaging comments about Italians. including wishing “they would be afflicted with coronavirus,” New Jersey 101.5 reported.
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said that it’s “incomprehensible that a suspect would play on the goodwill of so many during these difficult times.”
“This suspect has gone to a new low,” he said. “Our businesses are all struggling and every dollar matters. I will not tolerate someone trying to take advantage of our community in these difficult days. I will pursue the strongest of charges and make sure our businesses get their money back.”
Each of the pizzerias has lost hundreds of dollars in the scam, police said. In addition to restaurants in South Brunswick, shops in Montgomery, Plainsboro, and West Windsor have been targetted.
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