A New York man allegedly pretending to be a Santa Barbara Fire Department inspector — and scamming one area restaurant out of more than $900 in the process — was served an arrest warrant for burglary and grand theft. The man, 47-year-old Michael Angelo Carrion, is currently in custody in New York State on separate charges. According to SBPD spokesman Sgt. Riley Harwood, Carrion was also served a warrant by authorities in Austin, Texas, in April for impersonating a fire inspector. An Austin news station, KTBC Fox 7, stated that Carrion is also wanted for similar crimes across the country, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and Missouri. Harwood said that it is unclear when Carrion will be held accountable for his Santa Barbara warrant, given his purported history of crimes elsewhere.
Early last month, Carrion reportedly went to a Santa Barbara restaurant and told the eatery’s staff that he was an inspector for the Santa Barbara Fire Department and was there to conduct an inspection. He proceeded to examine the restaurant’s fire extinguishers, after which he charged the restaurant $900 in cash. A clerk at the restaurant phoned the manager, who spoke with Carrion and then authorized the payment out of the restaurant’s register. But after looking at the receipts Carrion provided, the manager later realized the inspection was a scam. Police retrieved his fingerprints from the restaurant, which they matched to Carrion from his arrest in Los Angeles a day after his alleged Santa Barbara scam. In Los Angeles, Carrion was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol and booked into Los Angeles County Jail for providing false information, Harwood said, after which Los Angeles authorities saw that he was wanted in New York.
The Santa Barbara Police Department and Fire Department believe that Carrion only victimized that one restaurant, but advised that, although the fire department does conduct inspections, money is never charged at the time of service and cash is never accepted. People are encouraged to ask for inspectors’ identification or call the department at 564-5702.