Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Hot check cuts spree short

James_DeeceAlice_WalkerA Simsboro couple is in trouble with the law after buying several thousand dollars worth of electronics from a local discount store and paying for it with a hot check.

However, their greed is what rang them up when they tried to return the items to a branch store for cash.

Alice Goodwin, 29, of the 200 block of Walnut Creek, was arrested for access device fraud after trying to return the items to three differnt stores in the same chain.

James Deese, 41, of the same address, is charged with accessory after the fact to access device fraud.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said a manager with the Minden discount store contacted the police department Tuesday.

"They wanted to file a report in reference to a large check they had taken in payment of several electronic devices, such as computers, televisions, surround sound systems and such," Cropper said. "Goodwin came in the store about five o'clock in the morning and purchased these and other items like laptop computers, iPods, cell phones – several items totaling more than $5,500."

Cropper said Goodwin wrote a personal check for the items.

"For some reason, the checker didn't run the check through the electronic check device," Cropper said. "They just accepted the check for these items."

A few hours later, the store manager reportedly received a phone call from a branch store in Monroe, where Goodwin had attempted to return all the items.

"Apparently, a red flag was raised at that point, so the store here ran a check on the check they had accepted in the amount of $5,502 and discovered it was written on a closed account," Cropper said.

Det. Sgt. Heath Balkom told the Minden store's staff that if they were contacted by Monroe's store or another in the chain, they must tell the woman she had to come to Minden where she purchased the items in order to return them for cash.

According to Cropper, Goodwin tried the Ruston store next.

"Not long afterward, Ruston's management contacted the Minden store, and said there was a couple in their store trying to return the items," Cropper said. "As instructed, they were told to bring the items back to the Minden store to return them."

Around 9:30 p.m., Goodwin and Deese had made the rounds and reportedly come back to Minden.

"Store employees detained Goodwin with the items until Det. Balkom arrived," Cropper said. "Officers made contact with Deese who was in a separate vehicle in the parking lot. Both of their vehicles were full of not only the items she was trying to return but additional items that had been purchased."

Goodwin and Deese were taken to the police department where they were interviewed.

"Goodwin had a long, elaborate story, but Deese indicated she (Goodwin) had come up with this scheme to get hold of a checkbook from a girl she had allowed to live with her," Cropper said. "Goodwin wrote the check on the account, not realizing it had been closed."

The chief said Goodwin and Deese have a child together.

The couple were reportedly booked at the Minden Police Department and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. Bond amounts were not known.

Cropper said about 90 percent of the items have been recovered and returned the local branch of the discount chain.






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