IRVINE ( — Officials in Irvine have arrested a man they said intentionally short-changed merchants in an elaborate theft scheme.

Jorge Nunez-Delgado, 52, of Lakewood is accused of stealing tens of thousands from such outlets as Walmart, Home Depot and Target.

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Nunez-Delgado was arrested last week in Culver City.

Authorities said the suspect would go into the stores and purchase various items from $500-600. He would pay for the items in cash but come  up “short.”

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When the cashier would point this out, Nunez-Delgado would ask to count the money himself, then while the money was in his possession, reach into his pocket to pull out another bill to cover the shortfall. However, he would actually take away $200 in cash at this time while supplying another small bill to supposedly cover the difference. The cashier would assume that all of the money was there. At a later date,  police said the suspect would go back to the store and return the item for a full refund.

Across Orange County, retailers suffered a loss of $7,000; Target’s loss statewide is estimated at $30,000.

Authorities believe Nunez-Delgado has been perpetuating this scam since as far back as 2004 and has hit other locations in Oregon, Wisconsin and Vancouver. He has allegedly been caught on video cameras inside several stores.

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Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Irvine Police Department Detective Matt Ricci at (949) 724-7189 or