Investigators search for man scamming small business owners with smooth talk

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Investigators describe Robert Hyers as a smooth-talking thief who is preying on nice, trusting business owners. And people keep falling for his scam.

“After a few hours we figured we had been scammed,” said Chris Gross at Vapin Crazy Smoke Shop in Davenport.

Gross lost $63 in Hyers’ scheme, according to investigators.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said he called the business ahead of time pretending to be “Mitch,” the next-door business owner who was caught in traffic.

Hyers then asked Gross to do him a favor and pay a guy who he owes for some work, and he’ll pay him back as soon as he gets out of the traffic jam.

“(Gross) calls Mitch and says ‘hey, are you going to may me the $63?’ and he says what are you talking about man?” Explained Sheriff Grady Judd.

Judd said Hyers has been at it for awhile. He’s been sent to prison at least 10 times and they now believes he’s tricking businesses all over the bay area.

It’s believed that he only steals small amounts of money so businesses will just write it off and not report it.

“Robert Hyers just rotates in and out of this forgiving criminal justice system and at the same time is terrorizing and stealing from people,” Judd said.

Anyone with information on Hyers whereabouts is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

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