By Ross Guidotti

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MOUNT PLEASANT (KDKA) — State police say the man who recently ripped off a Mount Pleasant store would make a great magician.

However his act wasn’t on stage, but in a Dollar General and it wasn’t to entertain the clerk. The whole event seemed normal at first.

Troopers say a lone male walked in to buy gift cards. The suspect placed five $100 bills on the counter. But just after he lays out the big money, he distracts the clerk using deception and distraction.

“Making the clerk believe that she had taken this money and deposited it in the register. Then she activates the cards for $500, [and] he walks out with the cash and the activated gift cards for $500,” state trooper Stephen Limani said.

(Photo Courtesy: Pennsylvania State Police)

Seconds later, he’s out the door with his cash and the cards.

Investigators say given the cool headedness, the apparent well-done sleight of hand and overall expertise, police say the suspect in this case has done something like this somewhere else.

“He’s one that just goes around doing this, doing this, doing this and doing this, and this is basically almost what he does for a living. We believe this person is also a suspect in West Newton, Tarrs and Mount Pleasant and Rostraver,” Limani said.

The trooper says the suspect wanted gift cards because they’re nearly impossible to track and easy to fence. However, investigators think surveillance video could break the case open and put this “magician” where he’ll have to learn how to escape from handcuffs or a jail cell.

State police are asking for the public’s assistance in bringing him to justice. Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to call Pennsylvania State Police.