Indiana Daily Student

Man and woman use scam to buy firearms at multiple Rural King locations



A man and a woman used fraudulent product returns and gift cards to buy a Sig Sauer rifle and ammunition over the weekend at Rural King. 

James Rodgers, 37, went Saturday into the Rural King on West State Road 45, grabbed a pair of $350 boots off the shelf and took them to the customer service desk to return them, said Bloomington Police Department Lt. John Kovach. Since he did not have a receipt, the employee didn't allow him to return them. Rodgers then stole them. 

On Sunday, he asked 27-year-old Amber Whaley to return the boots in exchange for gift cards, Kovach said. She returned Monday to purchase a Sig Sauer AR-15 rifle and ammunition valued between $700-$800. 

Police identified Rodgers and Whaley through Rural King video surveillance. After police questioned the two Monday, Whaley admitted to returning the stolen boots and buying the rifle but said she was returning the boots for her mother. 

Rodgers admitted to walking out of the store with the boots and taking possession of the rifle but told police he never asked Whaley to return the boots. The police were able to recover the rifle and the shotgun from Rodgers’ apartment. 

When police contacted Rural King’s loss prevention office, the office said the two had performed this type of scam multiple times throughout the area. 

Rodgers told police he had repeated the scam in Martinsville and Bedford, where Whaley bought him a Mossburg shotgun valued at $400. 

Rodgers couldn't buy firearms personally due to having several felony convictions that identify him as a serious violent felon, including weapons offense, Kovach said. Whaley told police she didn't know what intentions he had for buying the guns. 

Whaley received a misdemeanor citation for theft. Rodgers was charged with theft and the possession of firearms as a serious violent felon.

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