A Casitas Pass Road store reported that it had been victimized by a little sleight of hand in a cash counting scam perpetrated by a suspect who used a distraction tactic to short a clerk $200 in a $500 transaction on April 9.
The clerk reported that the man, who was estimated to be between 40 and 45 years old, asked for a $500 money order but at first handed over just $480. The money then went back to the customer’s hand, and he counted it out for the clerk. The man reportedly calculated the same insufficiency in the funding. To make up for the $20 he was short, the man appeared to add two more bills to the wad and handed over what the clerk thought was the correct amount.
Sometime after the man left, the clerk discovered that the pile had actually shrunk. The clerk suspected that when the man reshuffled the deck of dollars, he pocketed $180, resulting in only $300 being paid for the $500 money order. Deputies took a surveillance image of the man as evidence but had yet to track down a suspect.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN:
A woman accused of cashing fraudulent checks from a former employer’s account told deputies that the money was owed to her for severance pay. And even though the employer said severance was never agreed upon, the suspect claimed the employer had dementia and would not remember striking the deal.
Deputies first learned of the alleged fraud from the employer, who said her housekeeper had cashed eight unauthorized checks for a total of $1,073 at a local bank. Personnel at the local bank had already begun investigating the transactions and stated that the check casher, 58, had been acting suspiciously.
The employer said the suspect was her longtime housekeeper who had stopped showing up last November, leading to her finding a replacement. After a five-week hiatus, the former housekeeper came back seeking work and also offered to house sit for a stretch in January, when she knew the former employer would be attending an annual conference. The deputy noted that the victim, 69, seemed spry and was employed at a job that she commuted to in Burbank several days a week.
The victim said she believed the suspect had pilfered the checks, which she later signed and cashed, several weeks prior when trespassing in the victim’s home. The new housekeeper had reported that the old housekeeper was caught in the home. The old housekeeper told the new housekeeper that she was there to use the shower since her plumbing was malfunctioning.
A deputy then phoned the suspect, with whom he was very familiar from extensive interactions in the past. At first the woman who answered the phone claimed to not be the suspect, but the deputy recognized her voice. The woman asked to take a detailed message, so she could forward it to the suspect, but the deputy was not fooled. He pressed the woman on her identity, and eventually the woman said, “Okay, let’s drop the pretenses. What’s going on?”
Questioned about being in the bank that day to cash a check from her former employer, she said she was only in the bank to pay a bill for her boyfriend. However, the bank employee had refused to cash the check that morning and handed it over to deputies. It had the former employer’s name on it.
The woman then said she had permission to cash the checks anyway. She claimed that she had been a caretaker for the former employer for 11 years, and the money was her severance pay. She did not specify how much severance or how many checks were included in the package. The employer suffered from Parkinsons and dementia, said the suspect. She would not remember agreeing to the severance package.
Asked if she was recently at the victim’s residence, the suspect said yes, to shower; the backdoor is always unlocked. Also, she had permission, but the victim would not remember granting it. The deputy forwarded the report to the district attorney’s office requesting check fraud charges.
COKE ON THE ROCKS:
A deputy patrolling a Carpinteria Avenue motel due to increased reports of drug activity found what he was looking for on April 16. A man and woman were found with 17.3 grams of crystal meth mixed with cocaine and a digital scale, among other illegal items.
The deputy first began investigating them for standing outside of a car with tinted windows and an exhaust pipe that appeared modified. The man, 27, informed deputies he was on parole for weapons charges, and the woman, 21, said she also was under some level of probation and was supposed to be seeking treatment for drugs. Interacting with the pair, deputies soon suspected they were under the influence of drugs and detained them.
Deputies recovered a scale, some used syringes, cash and an illegal knife from the vehicle and questioned the woman about why they possessed the items. The woman said that the man was soon to be off parole, and she did not want him caught up in this. She said it was all her. Since she was out of work, she began dealing drugs. The man was only a consultant, since she was a novice dealer, she said. He was mostly at home with his wife and kid and turned a “blind eye” to her dealing. The man invoked his right to remain silent.
Asked if she had anything else illegal on her while being arrested, the woman said yes, in her bra. Since no female officers were present, deputies had the woman shake her bra to see what fell out. First a small bag of suspected meth mixed with coke fell out along with a small bag of marijuana. Then the woman said there was more. She gave another shake and a larger bag of the meth/coke hit the ground. The woman’s urine tested positive for meth, coke, opiates, marijuana and benzodiazepines. They were both arrested for dealing and other lesser charges related to the contents of their vehicle and their blood streams.
Burglary: Bailard Avenue at Carpinteria Avenue (3)
Theft: Cindy Lane, Carpinteria Avenue, Casitas Pass Road
Vandalism: 9th Street, Camino Trillado
Warrant arrest: Casitas Pass Road
Under the influence of a controlled substance: Linhere Street