In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many food stores and eateries are donating meals to first responders on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, one man took advantage of these gestures by placing fake orders.
Sudeep Khetani, 34, has been charged after allegedly calling up at least 34 New Jersey pizzerias, ordering food that would supposedly go to frontline workers, Inside Edition reports.
Across three separate counties, Khetani expressed that he would pick up the orders but never did. When the establishments would call him to check on his whereabouts, police say Khetani would "make statements about Italians and wished they would be afflicted with the coronavirus."
South Brunswick Township Police Department said in a statement, "Many of the impacted pizzerias have either donated food or received calls from residents willing to pay for food to be donated to area hospitals or first responders to thank them for all they are doing."
While Khetani masterminded the situation by masking his phone number, police were eventually able to track him down. Police say that several thousand dollars in pizzeria inventory were lost in the scam.
Chief Raymond Hayducka said in a press release, "It is incomprehensible that a suspect would play on the goodwill of so many during these difficult times. The suspect once placed an order saying it was coming to South Brunswick Police. We have had several residents send us food, which I appreciate tremendously, but this suspect has gone to a new low. Our businesses are struggling, and every dollar matters."
Khetani has been charged with theft and is currently on probation in Florida for selling fake tickets to Disney World.