Forgery is becoming a growing trend in Lubbock, a problem that could be coming from your pocketbook. In the last few years, the number of forged checks written and the dollar amount spent has increased, but Lubbock Police say there's an easy solution to this problem.
"What we've seen in the past is that the numbers climb every year, we get more and more forgeries, and it's getting to the point where it's almost an epidemic," said Sergeant Keith Woodard, Lubbock Police Department.
Sergeant Keith Woodard, a Property Crimes Detective with the Lubbock Police Department, says forgery happens a number of ways.
"People can actually produce checks that are bogus, and they consider that counterfeiting a forged check, or they can steal your checks by stealing your purse or a vehicle burglary, or they may wait for your checks to be delivered and steal them from your mailbox. There's a number of ways they can come up with checks, and at that point, they sign the check as you and that too is forgery," said Woodard.
From March 2001 to March 2002, $435,112 of forged checks were written in Lubbock. From March 2002 to 2003, $623,907 of bogus money was spent. And Woodard says there's a simple solution.
"When businesses don't check your ID or take a thumbprint, they're actually helping crime in Lubbock. Because what happens, these people are going out and committing car burglaries, thefts, house burglaries, and anything else they can go to come up with the checks to write. In addition to that, when they get money, it's connected to the meth amphetamine problem we have here in Lubbock," Woodard said.
So, Woodard also says by not combating the problem, businesses are actually contributing to the crime.
United Supermarkets, in one year's time = $82,894 were forged
"The perfect solution would be for everybody in Lubbock to start checking ID's when they take a check or put a fingerprint on it," Woodard said.
Woodard says that it's better to get a thumbprint than an ID because thumbprints can't be faked, whereas ID's can, and if the forger is a repeat offender, their thumb is already on record.
The punishment for forgery can be anywhere from a Class A Misdemeanor to a state jail felony.