LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A scam directly in front of the cash register slipped $1,000 of profit out of a south Las Vegas valley retail store, which even has a magician impressed by the technique.

Hottie is a retail store with four locations throughout the valley. Last June, two people were captured on camera breaking through the window from inside its Maryland Parkway and Flamingo Road location with almost $800 worth of clothes. 

Last month, it was money that escaped from the store on Blue Diamond Road and Valley View Boulevard. Security footage captured an adult man on April 23 interacting with a teenage female employee at the register.

In it, the man takes back a stack of bills the employee just counted for his order, which included fourteen items totaling $1,212.62 after tax. The receipt provided by the store’s owner also shows the customer initially provided $1,220 in cash.

As he “recounts” the money, the man points towards the register, to which the employee turns her head and no longer is watching him. Before he hands back the stack of bills with his right hand, some of it is seemingly crumpled in his left hand.

Visibly unaware, the employee does not double-check the money and completes the transaction. The owner reports about $800 not returned to the teenager.

One of the store’s supervisors said she was feet away as a female accomplice of the man distracted her.

The Hottie store manager and supervisor, who asked to not be identified, recount the sleight of hand incident with 8 News Now Reporter Ryan Matthey. (KLAS)

“She wants to bring down a dress from $200 to, like, $75. I’m like, ‘No we can’t do that,’” the supervisor, who asked to not be identified, said behind the same counter Friday morning. “She just kept doing the same thing over and over again.”

An hour later, the store’s manager, who also asked to not be identified, says the duo returned to the store to return some of the items from the original purchase. This refund receipt shows that $189.64 was refunded to them.

The manager said they realized they were victims of a scam the next morning.

“We just noticed the money wasn’t adding up,” she said, standing behind the same counter Friday morning. “It was a major hit to my team. It was a major hit to the company. We are a small business. For a small business owner, that’s a big hit.”

As con artists become savvier, one of the savviest in Las Vegas said even he was impressed by the security footage. Murray SawChuck has bamboozled tourists with his illusions for years, including his run at the now-closed Tropicana Hotel.

“I had to rewind it a couple of times and rewatch it again because it was really well done,” SawChuck said inside his home Friday afternoon. “When you’re watching somebody do something and you don’t know they’re going to do it, your attention isn’t as strong.”

Las Vegas Illusionist and Magician Murray SawChuck (left) demonstrates sleight of hand tricks to 8 News Now Reporter Ryan Matthey (right). (KLAS)

He demonstrated how simple this customer’s sleight-of-hand maneuver was. Using his middle finger, SawChuck separated the two bills stacked on top of each other in his hand and folded one down towards his palm. That bill disappeared in a clutched fist while handing back the other.

“There’s a lot of things between you and me I can hide behind,” SawChuck said, referencing the registers and items typically on a retail counter. “These are professionals, so don’t feel like you’re dumb or uneducated. It’s just not your vocation to know when somebody’s cheating you.”

Las Vegas Illusionist and Magician Murray SawChuck demonstrates the sleight of hand trick used in the Hottie security footage from April. (KLAS)

The customers seen in Hottie security footage have not been identified or are on the radar of police. But, the store’s manager says they did not turn to law enforcement for help, citing previous examples from incidents within their stores. 

“I have called several reports in for big shoplifting and (police) do nothing,” she said. “They file a report, and then no actions are being taken. These people are not being caught. Money is going down the drain.”

The store’s owner said the teenage employee quit shortly after this incident. Other employees of the store said they are sharing their stories in hopes other businesses remain vigilant in similar situations.

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