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Pallet Scammer Identified: Clearing Up a Case of Mistaken Identity
Scammer Caught: Police charge Tennessee man with scamming companies out of pallets and transportation services; authorities seek information from victims to build case against suspect.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 10/1/2008
Sometimes a joke just bombs because people don’t get it. My column from the July 2008 issue titled “Beware: The Scammer” is a perfect example. I need to set the record straight for my own personal reputation as well as general clarification. The picture that I ran in that column shows me in what looks like a police mug shot. It is not a picture of Larry Alvin Harris, the alleged pallet scammer. For the record, I have never been arrested. And I certainly have nothing to do with the pallet scam guy. My only involvement has been as a good citizen trying to help the cops catch the guy and inform the industry about the danger. The image in my July column was doctored in Photo Shop. Isn’t it amazing what you can do with pictures today thanks to computers?
For the last few years, I have changed my picture every column to represent the topic. This has been a humorous way to get people’s attention and to liven up my columns. I have met people at industry events that recognized me as the guy who does that weird picture thing. Some readers have told me that they can’t wait to see what I do next.
I have dressed up like a wide variety of things including, a giant emerald ash borer, a pallet thief, a boxer, a truckdriver, a bobble head. I have taken many poses against a wide variety of backgrounds. Many readers have gotten the jokes. But obviously some people have not. I have had a number of conversations where people thought the picture that I ran in the July issue was of Larry Alvin Harris. The truth is that Larry is much taller and older than me. You can see what he looks like in the image on page 68.
The case of mistaken identity is my fault because I did not put a caption under my column picture. I assumed, and we all know what happens when you do that… right?
Just in case you don’t know by now, Larry Alvin Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. has been accused of scamming companies out of pallets and transportation services all across the country. According to numerous sources, Larry Alvin Harris has used the aliases, Al Harris, Bo Harris, L.B. Harris, Al Harnis, and Bob Harris. He has also done business under the names North Star Distribution, Cherokee Distribution Center, and Southeastern Warehousing, Inc. He is accused of buying pallets under false pretences and never paying the bill. This scammer has hit companies in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina and Maryland.
Police in Chattanooga, Tenn. have re-arrested Harris who jumped bail in May. A tip by a recycler in Texas led to the latest arrest. Authorities want your help to build a case against him or else he may go free to scam others in the industry. Victims are encouraged to file a report with the Chattanooga Police Department by calling 423/698-2525.
Chattanooga Detective Larry Lockmiller said that he needs everyone who has been impacted to contact the Chattanooga police because the larger the crime, the more prosecutors will have to make their case and push for a longer prison sentence.
Santiago said that Al Harris took him for $21,000 worth of pallets. He urged any other victims to act to keep the same thing from happening in the future.
According to Detective Lockmiller, Harris uses 2288 Gun Barrel Road, Suite 111, Chattanooga, TN 37421 as his business address.