Portage la Prairie, MB –
It is the case of the free snack that went wrong for Portager Bailey Berry, who was caught at a Winnipeg Costco using a fake I.D. He stands accused of identity theft Thursday afternoon, fraud and solicitation.
According to reports, the young man was attempting to enter the Costco on St. James Street using an expired membership card issued to his uncle Peter Neufeld when staff noticed the attempted fraud and called authorities.
“I come to ‘Peg city a few times a week for work,” Bailey Berry explained. “If I’m by the Costco at lunch I use my uncle’s card to get in for the free samples. I guess this time they actually looked at the picture.”
Berry has been accessing various Costcos over the period of about five years, eating samples, checking out the new deals and occasionally buying food from the in-store restaurant.
“If they don’t have many samples I just go and get one of the cheap hot dogs,” Berry said. “You can enjoy those dogs all day too. Every time you burp, they come back up a bit. I never try and buy anything because they will check the photo then for sure, eh.”
The initial charges of identity theft were dropped as Berry’s uncle Peter Neufeld confirmed he willingly gave Berry his old card to access the Costco illegally for free-samples. “I was proud of Bailey,” Neufeld said. “He’s half Mennonite you know. It’s just part of his culture to want to get a good deal and eat as cheap as he can.”
In lieu of a fine, Berry has committed to buying his own membership, limiting himself to one sample per visit and purchasing the sampled products he likes.
According to corporate officials, this is a growing problem with residents of Portage la Prairie, Stonewall and Steinbach. They blame the close proximately to these centres known for their high concentrations of thrifty residents.