DONIPHAN, MO (KAIT) – Law enforcement agencies in the bootheel continued searching for eight men suspected of cashing more than $16,000 in stolen payroll checks. According to the Doniphan Police Department, eight Hispanic males stole blank checks from Doniphan Ready Mix and Kirby Sawmill sometime before Christmas.
Region 8 News talked to the owners of both companies Monday. Each said a man entered their business to request an application for employment before the alleged crimes.
"He came to the office, came in and asked my secretary if we were hiring, and she said not at this time but here's an application to fill out and he declined," said Elton Bates, owner of Doniphan Ready Mix. "He just said he'd be back later, as it turned out, he did come back later but at sometime probably in the evening time and stole about 40 checks that we have in a box."
Bates said the bank called him shortly after noticing the checks. He said the bank called police immediately after realizing something wasn't right.
"They were printed on commercially available software identical to what we use here for payroll so they had the appearance of a payroll check," said Bates. "These were just blank checks. They had nothing written on them. They were still in the box where we had received them from the printing company."
"The forgery was very good. Whoever signed it signed it better than I can," said Bates. "This was a well planned and probably this was not the first time this had happened. It was certainly more of a professional type situation."
The same situation happened at Kirby Sawmill.
"I went down there and took my checkbook and got to looking and there were some checks missing and they had just taken a stack right out of the middle of the box," said Christy Kirby. "We've got three accounts and they had taken some out of two of them."
Kirby said 43 checks were stolen from her business, putting her out nearly $8,000.
"They've got it flagged to so it shouldn't be an issue but they did have it, so we had to close those," said Kirby. "It looked to us that they had pried open one of the garage doors and just used a pry bar, and had to push pretty hard to get it open but they bent the deal on the inside that keeps it locked."
Kirby said she didn't think anything suspicious was going on when the suspect entered the business looking for an application.
"It just makes you feel violated and you just don't trust people. You don't trust to try and leave things where you think you've got them secure," said Kirby.