Toilet Scam Flushed Out When Man Goes Directly To Cashier To Return Stolen Commode

The funny thing about returning an item at a store? You have to have purchased the product in the first place. Cops say a man’s theft was flushed out quite easily when surveillance cameras at a Pennsylvania Lowes caught him grabbing a toilet and bringing it directly to a cashier to return it.

Officials say the 32-year-old man brought the “upflush” toilet to the return line right after taking it from its spot in the store. He was able to exchange it without a receipt for $677.34 in gift cards, reports ABC News.

He got away with his gift cards until the store reviewed its security tape and subsequently called the cops. The man was taken to jail after his arraignment, as he failed to post $30,000 in bail.

All apologies for the easy jokes here, folks. You just can’t write about a toilet-related crime without wordplay resistance going down the drain.

*Thanks so much for the tip, Rebecca!

Police: Man nabbed in Lowe’s toilet theft scam [ABC News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bsamm09 says:

    I remember a girl in high school who went to JC Penny (I think) and did the same thing for the most part. Don’t know if she ever got caught.

  2. MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

    I’ve never seen such awful puns. I’m worried that Consumerist is tanking, and will soon be circling the drain.

  3. George4478 says:

    When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

  4. LuzioFantazmic says:

    Wow, $30,000 bail. There has to be more to this story.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Clearly some of this is the “dumbass fee” for the idiot not realizing he was being watched all the time (“security cameras? whatthehell are those?”)

      • deathbecomesme says:

        Just wanted to share because your “whatthehell are those” line reminded me.

        I was at a nursing home visiting a close family friend and there was an elderly man outside in his wheel chair on a cell phone yelling “THEY TOLD ME I HAVE DEMENTIA! WHAT THE FUCK IS DEMENTIA!!!”

        I was lmbo the whole day

    • Marlin says:

      If the stolen amount is over a certain level (i think its $500 in most places) it goes from a misdemeanor to a felony.
      So instead of a minor shop lifting the charge its probably grand larceny or something like that. Could be fraud depending on how they charged him as well.

    • NurseTimLPN says:

      Likely he is a repeat offender.

      • NotEd says:

        Perhaps this is offense #2.

        I am so sorry, but it had to be done or I’d have to set up the whole joke from scratch for my wife when I got home tonight. This way I got it flushed out of my system now, saving me trouble in the end.

    • Bob A Dobalina says:

      We will get the real poop when it goes to trial

  5. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It’s a common scam. Maybe the perp was flush with success from smaller items and went with the flow.

  6. SirWired says:

    Frankly, I’m surprised any store takes any but the most trivial returns without a receipt or valid Credit Card or Customer Lookup. This scam is just too easy to pull off.

    • thomwithanh says:

      I recently went to exchange a box of K-Cups to my local Price Chopper (I had grabbed decaf by mistake). I had my reciept… but the woman at customer service said security had to review the CCTV tape before a refund could be made, she verified the address on my Advantage Card profile and said a check would be mailed to me within 3-5 business days (for a $7 box of K-Cups.)

      I wasn’t particularly put-off, although I did casually mention that I thought it seemed rather excessive. She expalined that K-Cups are on this Price Chopper’s “Hot 100 List” (most frequently stolen items). Sure enough, a few days later I bought a gallon of milk that was still within it’s expiration date but when I brought it home was blatently no good, didn’t have to go through any of that – money was put back on my card and I went to get a new one.

  7. deathbecomesme says:

    Holy sh*t a toilet cost $700!!!

    • Costner says:

      It was an upflush model, so instead of his criminal career being flushed down the crapper, he was hoping this would elevate his criminal status to new heights!

      Seriously though… upflush toilets are those disgusting versions that essentially have garbage disposals connected to them and they grind up the *ahem* goodies… and proceed to pump them to a higher point much like a sump pump. They are for people who have basements and want a bathroom, but the sewer line is actually above the floor height.

      All I know is that I wouldn’t want to be the plumber who has to fix that pump when it breaks down. The kinds of nastiness found in there doesn’t sound very appealing.

      • kc2idf says:

        Yeah, no shit.

      • Tunnen says:

        I can assure you there are worse things… Like having to repair the screening units at the wastewater treatment plant, it’s amazing all the crap (pun not intended) that those things pick up. Also doing work in the lagoon isn’t a fun job either… But grinder pumps rank up there as well. =P

        • "I Like Potatoes" says:

          As the daughter of a (now retired) wastewater treatment plant employee, I was forbidden to ever buy tampons with plastic applicators. I still won’t buy them.

          • Tunnen says:

            Haha, I decided to spare the general public that detail. That was actually one of the things that popped to mind when thinking of some of the lovely crap the screens collect.

            One of the others that I still am scratching my head over is how part of a bicycle frame made it all the way to the plant. I figured it would have got stuck somewhere in the sewers or at least settled in a tank at one of the pump stations. The other head scratcher is how it got into the sewer in the first place.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        Sometimes these types of toilets are used with the grinder only when the outlet pipes are too narrow for whole turds. I encountered these in France as toilettes broyeurs. You would flush, then a trickle of water, and then, a semi-muffled sound of grinding, followed by one more glug of water.

    • BluePinto says:

      That’s the part I was stuck on.

  8. thomwithanh says:

    That scam was also in the movie Garden State… Mark (Peter Sarsgaard) needs money to buy a gift, so he grabs a tool in a hardware store and “returns” it for cash without a reciept required.

    • Friendly Curmudgeon says:


      I came here just to make sure someone mentioned Garden State.

      Thank YOU laughing Duck Hunt dog thomwithanh.

  9. akronharry says:

    It has squishy seats.

  10. Emperor Norton I says:

    I hope the security guard that caught this was flushed with pride!

  11. kanenas says:

    I fail to see how this is theft. He did not steal the toilet. Maybe it is some other kind of fraud.

    What I don’t get is this… I’m pretty certain that a retailer would (and should) balk at someone attempting to “return” an expensive item with no receipt and hand out gift cards.

    • HeadsOnPikes says:

      When Target and other retailers have started requiring receipts for returns, people have thrown fits.

      • MuleHeadJoe says:

        Heh, I was thinking about return scams and commonly targeted stores … I’ve interacted with Target’s custserv twice … one was a return, which went smooth with no instant replay necessary (the product was unopened and I had the reciept). The other time was actually still pretty smooth tho they had to ‘review the video’ … I bought a dvd set the day before and the cashier somehow managed to scan it twice … “after further review” the ref agreed that I only had one copy of the dvd and they refunded the second charge. Not exactly lightning fast, but entirely polite & courteous were they.

        As far as return scams go, though … I used to work for Gap Inc in the previous decade as the corp was tanking hard, and they had a horrible reputation amongst us internally for letting shoplifting and return scams go virtually unchecked nationwide as part of their “pro-customer” attitude of “no reciept required” along with “no confronting patrons even if you saw them stealing products and walking out the door” policies.

      • kanenas says:

        Sounds exactly like the kind of people you don’t want to be giving no-receipt returns to.

  12. PragmaticGuy says:

    Years ago in New York there used to be a chain store called Times Square Stores. I went for a job there and all I had to do was approve refunds for people without receipts. Managers would call me for approval and I’d be the one to argue with customers if I didn’t approve it. I was told that about half of their “returns” were by people who had no receipts and mainly picked up stuff at one part of the store and “returned” it at another. They ended up closing due to the amount of theft at the stores and I never took the job.

  13. Buzz says:

    This happens a lot more than you think. They get gift cards and sell them on E-bay or locally if they need the money real fast (drugs). That’s why no merchandise cards should be allowed to be sold on the internet except from the retailers. Lowe’s could make a lot more money by getting very strict with returns. As of now, they want to be customer friendly as possible so they do not turn off potential repeat shoppers.