NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Forged, stolen and counterfeit checks cause honest victims problems every day.
The scam is happening in Nacogdoches County. It starts by someone simply opening a mailbox. A Nacogdoches County woman had only two checks stolen, but what the thieves did with those checks is amazing.
Alma Tippins sends off her son's birthday card. These days that's about the only kind of mail she's putting in her home mailbox -- certainly no bills paid by checks.
"I had no idea that someone had come along and opened up my mailbox and took two checks out," Tippins said.
In a matter of days Tippins' business account was overdrawn.
"And lo and behold, someone had written a check for $1,156.25," she said.
That's when the bank discovered the thieves took routing and account numbers off the checks to place on counterfeit checks.
"Billy Wayne Purdue is not a real person," Tippins said. "And Perfection Tire and Lube, Jacksonville is not a real business. And I don't believe 1st Bank in Texarkana, Texas, is a real business."
All this happened around Christmastime.
"Both of them were drawn on Lowe's in Greenville, Texas," Tippins said. "So one got passed on December 24. I guess I bought Christmas for somebody.">
And tippins is still following the papertrail.
"They turned $16 check into $370.70," she said.
It's certainly not the first offense of its kind.
"People are driving within maybe 2 hours of their place of residence and they may victimize several people along that route going and coming," Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.
Tippins runs a business called "Alligator Annie's." She's ready to put an alligator grip on the people who stole her checks.
"I think somebody was pretty stupid to get in a mailbox that has Alligator Annie on the check and think somebody wouldn't get in trouble," she said.