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Checking On Checked Checks

, , , , , | Legal | December 8, 2019

One afternoon, my wife and I were puttering around our tiny apartment in a poorer section near the university when the phone rang. It was a pizza place that we could see from a window, calling because a somewhat inebriated, probably homeless man was trying to buy a pizza with a check that had my wife’s name, address, and our phone number — this is back before cell phones were around. The clerk had clearly had suspicions of fraud and called to see if the check use was authorized. We told him it was not and walked over to the store immediately. Surprisingly, the man didn’t run away, and he had an entire box of my wife’s checks that he had presumably stolen from our broken mailbox.  

The clerk said, “Do you want us to call the police? This guy keeps trying to use stolen checks and we’d like to stop it.”

My wife said, “Sure.” She was young. Now, she would have reamed the guy up and down the street.

The police came, arrested him, and kept the box of checks as evidence. We went down and pressed charges. When we checked with the store a few weeks later, the clerk mournfully told us that because there was no evidence that the man had signed the check, the prosecutor wouldn’t pursue the case.  

So, a bum passed a check, the pizza clerk checked up on him, we picked up the check, and the prosecutor took a rain check on earning his paycheck.

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