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Woman Attempts Check Fraud, Flees When Discovered

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Newtown Police are seeking a suspect that attempted check fraud at Newtown Savings Bank this week.

According to police, a white woman wearing a dark wig and dark rimmed glasses in a black Volkswagen Atlas drove up to the drive-thru window at the branch at 32 Church Hill Road early Monday afternoon, December 5. The vehicle had no visible registration plates.

The woman attempted to cash a fraudulent check, and the teller at the bank immediately contacted Newtown Police Department to report the incident.

Upon the arrival of police, the woman fled in her vehicle by driving over a curb and exiting at a high rate of speed through the nearby parking lot of Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market. The branch office is within The Village at Lexington Gardens, which has a connecting driveway to The Shops at Newtown, a small plaza that includes a Wells Fargo branch office, Bottle Stop Wine & Spirit Superstore, and Barnwood Bar & Grill.

While traveling through the Caraluzzi’s parking lot, Newtown Police reported the vehicle struck a parked vehicle, doing minor damage (see separate report in Police Reports).

With consideration to the safety of the public, officers did not pursue the suspect as she fled the area. The woman was observed continuing southbound on South Main Street/Route 25 into Monroe. This incident is consistent with several other similar cases in the area.

Officer Charles Guernsey is the investigating officer.

Chief David Kullgren commended the bank teller and bank staff for their diligence in looking out for the customers. He also said he was proud of the responding officers, who arrived at the scene quickly and showed restraint in not pursuing the suspect, which could have led to injuries of uninvolved bystanders, the officers, or the suspect, he said.

Captain Brian Bishop noted Newtown PD receives numerous check fraud complaints every day, as many as five or more. The fraud often involves checks stolen from the mail and checkbooks and personal identification stolen from purses, and bags stolen from cars that are broken into or unlocked.

These incidents are generating thousands of dollars in losses. NPD is asking that the community consider alternative payments methods such as credit cards or direct debit from bank accounts. For those who must write a check, drop the checks off inside the post office, and don’t leave a check in a mailbox.

Lock cars, and don’t leave purses or backpacks visible in a car.

“The NPD continues to ask residents to move to electronic payments to decrease check fraud,” said Kullgren.

Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

A surveillance camera image shows the suspect of an attempted check fraud incident at Newtown Savings Bank on December 5. —photo courtesy Newtown Police Department
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