An arrest warrant has been issued for a Tri-City man who allegedly bilked a Coquitlam teen out of $400 in a cheque scam this summer.
Coquitlam RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said the man is well known to police and was identified through photos captured from security video.
“They sent his photo around to the rest of our police officers here and other police officers recognized the suspect, and we looked into the suspect’s background and discovered this sort of thing is very common with him.” McLaughlin said.
The cheque was also retrieved and, along with witness statements, was enough information to convince the Crown to approve charges of possession of stolen property and fraud under $5,000, McLaughlin said.
The charges stem from an incident Aug. 3 when a man approached a 16-year-old who was waiting for the bus after work and told him a hard luck story about needing cash and offering to exchange a cheque for money via the teen’s ATM.
The youth, not knowing that cheques can bounce, be stolen or fraudulent, did as the man asked, withdrawing the cash from his bank after witnessing the cheque being accepted by the bank machine. He was later confused when he saw that the money was missing and the cheque didn’t clear, according to his sister, who called The Tri-City News at the time.
McLaughlin said people should be careful when approached by individuals professing to need cash and offering to exchange a cheque because it may be stolen. He also said people should keep their chequebooks safe because they one of the first things thieves will steal in a house or car break-in.
In this case, the cheque was a stolen from a car.
“It’s very important that anybody — whether they are checking mail, car or home theft — to doublecheck whether their cheques have gone missing and, if they have, to let police know because this often leads to other crimes,” McLaughlin said.
It’s not known whether the teen will be able to retrieve the funds as such cases are difficult to resolve, McLaughlin said, but he said the family is pleased somebody is being held responsible.
“Whenever we can get someone to account for their actions it’s better for the community,” McLaughlin said.
ue Police are now searching for Clayton Brooks Hayden, 21, of no fixed addressed in connection with this incident.