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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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Man Arrested In Winter Haven For Allegedly Fraudulently Returning Items To Lowe’s

Winter Haven Police Department Press Release

Paul Houvardas (46 years-old) of Winter Haven found out that greed can get you caught pretty quick – especially when cameras are around.

On 5-19-18, Houvardas decided to go to Lowes (Citi Center) and select an item and present a fraudulent receipt for a refund. He received a refund of $44.70 in cash and off he went.

Fast forward to 5-21-18, he entered the same Lowes where he selected another item worth $86. Requesting a refund, he told the cashier he didn’t have a receipt. The cashier asked for an ID and, well, yes he provided his Florida DL. Since he didn’t have a correct receipt, he was provided a Lowes card. and off he went.

But wait – he’s back!  On 5-31-18, he once again entered Lowes empty handed and selected two ceiling fans and went to the cashier asking to return the fans. He told her that he originally purchased three fans, but decided he didn’t like the style, therefore he was returning two of the three. A loss prevention associate who watched Houvardas walk out of his way to a cashier at the opposite end of the store, thought his travel pattern to be a bit odd. So the LPO had the cashier stall and Houvardas figured this was taking way too long, so he left – leaving the fans behind.

After checking cameras and determining Houvardas had been in the store two times prior, the return information was collected and, thanks to his willingness to provide his DL, we had an address.  Ultimately, on 6-14-18, Houvardas was taken into custody and charged with two counts of Petit Theft.

No matter how much money is involved, fraudulent returns is stealing and against the law. Houvardas enjoyed that free ride to jail in the back of a beautiful Winter Haven Police Car.

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