A 30-year-old Los Angeles woman was arrested by Santa Monica police on Friday, Nov. 30 for stealing checks from mail boxes, washing them, then rewriting them to deposit into her own bank account.
This story begins back on Oct. 16, 2012, when officers of the Santa Monica Police Department responded to a business at 3:05 p.m. located in the 2400 block of Santa Monica Boulevard after they had been notified a number of checks had been stolen.
When the officers arrived at the business they spoke with the victim who told them he had written several checks to his creditors in his office and then placed them in the mailbox inside the office complex.
A few days later his bank Wells Fargo contacted him, saying they had noticed that several checks had been made out to the same person, and for similar amounts.
The victim told the bank employee he had never written any such checks and did not know this woman. They later discovered that the checks had been “washed” (Check washing is the process of erasing details from checks to allow them to be rewritten, usually for criminal purposes such as fraudulent withdrawal from the victim’s bank account).
This case was thus assigned to investigators who tracked down the checks to a possible mailing address in Inglewood.
The investigators surveyed the location on Friday, Nov. 30, and at around 2 p.m. they saw a white Nissan Altima pull up to the location with the suspect (a woman) seated in the passenger seat.
The officers allowed the woman to enter the location whereupon they pounced and detained her. The driver of the vehicle was also detained and a consensual search of the Altima conducted.
The officers discovered the driver was in possession of methamphetamine; more fraudulent credit cards and a “fishing device” used to steal mail from mailboxes was also discovered inside the car. Both of these individuals were arrested and taken to Santa Monica Jail.
The 30-year-old female of Los Angeles was charged with obtaining credit using another’s identity, burglary, forgery, making a fictitious check and a parole violation. She was not granted bail.
The driver, a 40-year-old Glendale resident, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and his bail was set at $10,000.
Editor’s Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled “Alert Police Blotter” (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of the Mirror’s coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.