Impostor uses local man's identity to rob businesses; Viewer provides photo of suspected thief

10News viewer says she knows the alleged impostor

KEARNY MESA, Calif. - He's been dining and dashing at local restaurants and pubs. He walks out on his bill, after helping himself to food and drinks. 

And he's been using a local man's name.

"It's very frustrating to have someone defaming your reputation," says Tom Nickel, owner of O'Brien's bar.

Earlier this month, Tom's customers told him someone had been using his identity to dine at local bars and restaurants and walking out on the tab.

10News talked with at least 6 different businesses from Oceanside to Downtown San Diego who shared similar stories.

"He walked in here, talking to a couple of our customers, bought cigarettes, beer, and food... then walked out," explained Rachel Dymond with Carriage House, a Kearny Mesa bar. She says the man was wearing an O'Brien's shirt, and showed us the fake credit card the man used to also purchase a Carriage House shirt.

"He stole one of their shirts, too, and said, Hey I'm from O'Brien's, and now he has a Carriage House shirt," added business owner Andrew Haines. "So what's to stop him from going to other bars and saying I'm the owner of the Carriage House?"

The man was described to be about 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches, with salt and pepper hair and a mustache. When 10News aired Tom's story last week, a viewer called the newsroom.

The woman didn't want to be identified, but said the man profiled in the 10News story was her ex-boyfriend. She said she had to bail the man out of jail for ripping off businesses using the identity of a hotel manager, and provided 10News with his photos.

10News blurred the man's pictures because he has not been charged with a crime. We also passed along the photos to Tom.

"We've been able to confirm at several of the locations, this is indeed the man who has been perpetrating some of these crimes," Tom said.

A police report has been filed on this case, and the woman who called our newsroom said she will be working with detectives to catch the suspected thief before he strikes again.

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