Garrett Andrews

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February 13, 2013
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Roseburg police arrest man on suspicion of theft by sleight of hand

A Portland man suspected in a string of “quick-change” cons around Roseburg over the past three years was arrested Tuesday.

George C. Thomas Jr., 55, was spotted by Roseburg police in a parking lot in the 300 block of Northwest Garden Valley Boulevard and arrested on suspicion of eight counts of third-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft. He was in custody in the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $16,250 bail.

Officers were looking for Thomas’ silver four-door sedan with Nevada license plates after clerks at two Stewart Parkway stores described the man they say engaged them in sleight-of-hand cons. They also provided a description of the car he was driving. Police believe Thomas is also responsible for four similar swindles in Roseburg in 2011 and one in 2012.

“Basically, it’s one of those things you see in old movies,” Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch said.

Eichenbusch said that in each case Thomas is suspected of attempting to pay for low-priced items with large bills. When clerks introduce other bills to make change, Thomas allegedly engaged in sleight-of-hand moves and ended up with change plus his original bill before leaving the store.

In Subway on Stewart Parkway on Tuesday, police say Thomas attempted to pay for a cookie and a soda with a $50 bill.

“That’s when things got confusing,” Eichensbusch said.

After moving cash in and out his pockets, Thomas allegedly walked out of Subway with ill-gotten change totaling less than $100. Subway workers called police, and Roseburg officers connected the report with a similar complaint from nearby Parkway Market on Stewart Parkway.

A passenger found with Thomas was questioned but not arrested.

• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at

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The News-Review Updated Feb 13, 2013 04:04PM Published Feb 18, 2013 07:14PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.