It is a common crime, and one that can happen very quickly. And it can leave you out of hundreds of dollars. One Valley woman learned that the hard way when checks she put in the mail to pay bills were snatched from her mailbox, forged and cashed.
"I put four bills in the mail. The only four that I pay by check," recalled Tina Waddell.
However, a few days later, Waddell noticed her checking account balance did not quite match her records. So she went online and checked the digital image of the cashed checked and noticed it was altered and cashed by someone she didn't know.
"(The check) was for $960. I went and looked and one of the checks was cashed to a Dawn somebody."
That "Dawn somebody" is Dawn Rosenwinkle. However, 'Dawn Rosenwinkle' is a fake name used by a real forger who was caught on bank security camera using a stolen ID. That ID allowed her to cash the check.
The crimes happened in both Chandler and Mesa. Investigators in both cities are looking for the forger.
"It can happen to anyone," said Sgt. Joe Favazzo with Chandler police.
Favazzo said there are some simple things you can do to prevent these common crimes.
"When you're mailing checks, we suggest that you use an approved mailbox, (like an) approved postal box, (or) stop by a post office and drop it off," he explained.
Favazzo said unlocked, older style mailboxes are easy targets for thieves, and he recommends people not use them for important mail.
Unfortunately, Waddell learned her lesson, and hopes 'Dawn Rosenwinkle' is caught.
"Criminally I want her to get the full extent of the law, and then I want to sue her civically, and I want her not to own a damn thing in her life," said Waddell.
Waddell's bank was able to issue her a refund on the stolen money.
If you have any information about this crime, contact Mesa or Chandler police.
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