By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – The people writing checks from a deceased woman apparently moved up from bilking restaurants to stealing from banks.
On Friday, a Safford officer was informed that two male subjects had recently deposited 10 checks totaling $11,067.62 into the account of Thomas Reynolds at the OneAZ Credit Union at 280 W. Main St. The problem is that the checks were all from Patricia Burns, who has been deceased for a number of years.
According to a bank employee, the men identified themselves as Reynolds and Thomas Steyer. The bank representative said the bank had lost $975 before discovering the checks were fraudulent.
Upon the discovery, a bank employee called Reynolds, who identified Steyer as his roommate. The employee informed Reynolds that the bank was investigating the recent deposits and that the police would be notified. At that point, Reynolds hung up the telephone, according to the employee.
One of the male subjects in surveillance footage from the bank matched surveillance footage of check fraud at Casa Mañana restaurant regarding checks issued from Patricia Burns. In the restaurant case, a man and woman are accused of issuing bad checks three times over the course of three weeks to pay for their ill-gotten gains.
The bank case was forwarded to investigations. Anyone with information regarding the crimes is encouraged to call the Safford Police Department at (928) 432-4100.
Editor’s note: Authorities arrested a man and a woman late Tuesday night regarding this case after a tip of their whereabouts came in from a Gila Valley Central reader. Gila Valley Central will update with a new article when possible. An additional victim of the check fraud has also come forward, and police ask anyone who believes they have also been a victim to report it to the Safford Police Department.