Tulsa Police Arrest Two In Check Fraud Ring
TULSA, Oklahoma - Surveillance video captured two men Tulsa Police say are responsible for a suspected forgery ring. Both are now in custody, but officers say there are several others they're looking for in connection to the fraud.
Tulsa Police say one of the people they arrested believed to be the ringleader and may be tied to at least 100 victims. That means thousands of dollars in forged checks and police say there’s a simple way to protect yourself.
Tulsa Police say video shows Brian Thomas and Christopher Edwards driving through a Broken Arrow neighborhood stealing mail.
"Brian has been known for years and years as being the mail thief. Brian's MO is he'll steal mail out of the mailboxes, wash those checks as we call it or clear the information off the checks, and rewrite it," said Cpl. Matt Rose with Tulsa Police.
Both Edwards and Thomas were tracked down after someone reported a tip. Arrest reports show nearly $1,500 worth of forged checks that had been washed or cleared were found in the car Thomas was driving. Police say he is known for writing the altered checks to a large group of people and then taking half of the money when they are cashed.
"He's got tons of victims tons of mail that had been stolen I mean we've processed mail in this whole room taken up this entire table just of mail we believe Brian has stolen," said Rose.
Police say they've already been able to track down and arrest three people: Thomas, Edwards, and Daryl Nelson but are still looking for Rodney Skelton, Erma Leann Rogers, and Kelsey Maestas. Police believe Maestas may be somewhere in Texas.
Rose says people need to take precautions if you plan on sending or receiving checks in the mail.
"People are still mailing checks in the mailbox you've got to stop you've got to take your mail to a post office and drop it off inside," said Rose.
Along with Tulsa Police, the Postal Inspection Service or "Postal Police" are also investigating. Thomas and Edwards were arrested for several fraud-related crimes.