The Irvine Police Department is raising awareness of an international scam artist operating in the area and is asking for anyone with information about him to come forward.

The thief, 24-year-old Retan Munteanu of Romania, has swindled businesses worldwide by making large cash purchases, then surreptitiously reclaiming some of the cash before leaving with the “purchased” item, police said on Twitter.

“He skillfully distracts and confuses cashiers while covertly removing bills from cash being counted,” according to police.

On Wednesday, police released a video showing one of the alleged thefts, this one at an Irvine jewelry store.

The video shows Munteanu producing a large “wad of cash” to purchase a $2,900 chain, counting the bills quickly before he puts the money on the counter.

As he continues his conversation with the cashier, however, Munteanu conceals some of that money – $1,900, according to police – in his hand, then pockets it as the clerk turns her attention to the register.

Police warned the public to watch out for Munteanu when dealing with cash.

Anyone with information about him is asked to email Detective Ricci at