Tulsa Police are investigating a ring of thieves passing hot checks at grocery stores in Tulsa, Owasso and Bixby. Detectives say they've cost the stores $10,000 in the past two months.
Police have identified six suspects and believe they're all working together because their MO is similar. They go to area grocery stores, buy a ton of food, then pay for it with a check from a closed account.
In one case, the account had been closed for six years.
"I think they either know each other or they know people who know each other, that's doing most of the work," said Detective Matt Rose, TPD Financial Crimes.
He says one woman has been to five different stores, passing off five bogus checks to the tune of $1,200. He said two men have been spotted on surveillance video in several stores together, and one usually exits right after the other.
"They've made about 25 fraudulent payments in the amount of $2,000," Detective Rose said.
Another woman has passed 10 bad checks, for a total of $1,200 at several stores in Tulsa, Owasso and Bixby, according to the detective. Two women have tried to pass nine different bogus checks totaling $1,100.
Rose said seven of the bad checks went through; two were rejected.
"They know what they're doing. That's what we need, is to get them identified and in jail," he said.
He said with these amounts, these suspects are now in the "felony lane gang," meaning they'll face felony charges. Most checks used in this way are stolen from people either from their mailbox, their car or their home.
Stores can protect themselves by checking IDs, and we can protect ourselves by never leaving checks inside our vehicle, hiding them inside your home and never mailing your bills from home but taking them to a post office.