Northern California man uses fake military uniform, 20-year-old image to scam people, police say

(FOX40.COM) — A Northern California man was recently arrested after police learned that he was using a fake military uniform and decades-old photo to scam people throughout California, according to the Redding Police Department.

Police said Bernard Curtis, 72 from Oroville, would purposely dress in a uniform made up of U.S. Navy and U.S. Army garments and rank insignias, enter local businesses with a picture of his disabled son that was “over two decades old,” and swindle employees into giving him money.
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Redding police officials added that Curtis was indeed a member of the U.S. Navy at some point, but he would lie about the length of his service to those whom he was attempting to scam. They also said that he admitted to completing the scam in “multiple counties” throughout California.

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On Tuesday, around 12:30 p.m., police said they received a call about a man who entered Fetch Body Piercing in a military uniform and left the location after stealing about $5,000 worth of jewelry.

Police said witnesses informed them that the man entered a silver Jaguar and left the area. Officers were able to find the vehicle quickly and conduct a traffic stop where they found the suspect with stolen jewelry, a “large” amount of money, and stolen merchandise from other local businesses.

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“Fortunately, two of the officers at the scene were veterans of the United States Army and United States Navy… so the fake uniform was noticeable,” the Redding Police Department said on Facebook.

Curtis was arrested for grand theft and misrepresenting military service and uniforms to intentionally impersonate and deceive to obtain money, according to police.

If anyone was a victim of this scam and provided money to Bernard Curtis, please contact the Neighborhood Police Unit or Redding Police Detective Liles at 530-225-4200.

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