Polk sheriff: Wanted men returned boxes of Play-Doh instead of $6,000 in hardware

- Polk County deputies are still searching for one of two suspects they described as the 'Play-Doh Players,' who scammed Target stores in several Florida counties. 

Detectives said 36-year-old Jose Rivera Jr., of Winter Park, purchased 69 Seagate-brand external hard drives from 16 different Target stores in Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties. Then, 32-year-old Rainer Bentulan of Orlando returned them using the receipts, pocketing the cash and the hardware inside. 

However, when Target employees opened the boxes, they found Play-Doh inside, in place of the hardware that was once in each case, according to the suspects’ arrest warrants. The weight of the boxes was apparently similar to the weight they would have been if they still contained the actual hard drives.

The total value of stolen hardware was $6,159, detectives said.

Officials said the incidents occurred between January 16 to 18, and they recently obtained arrest warrants for the duo.

"This is certainly a creative twist on a fraudulent return, but you can be sure that when we arrest these suspects, the handcuffs we use won't be made out of Play-Doh," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "They'll be metal, and they'll both be taking a ride to jail."

Jose Rivera was arrested in Orange County this morning.  But anyone with information on the whereabouts of Bentulan is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200. Anonymous tips can be sent to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477 or their website, www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Polk sheriff: Wanted men returned boxes of Play-Doh instead of $6,000 in hardware
  • Woman Baker-acted following hit and run fatality
  • 80-year-old Publix employee charged with grand theft
  • Person found dead after apartment fire
  • Overturned truck carrying sod closes I-275 exit ramp in St. Pete
  • Raccoons with 'canine distemper' virus found at Ft. De Soto Park
  • Hit-and-run driver injured 80-year-old Skyway Bridge toll booth worker, troopers say
  • 'Super Wolf Blood Moon' eclipse lights up, and darkens, the sky
  • Found: Silver Alert issued for Pinellas County man
  • Volunteers needed to clean after Gasparilla