Christmas bandits pass bad checks

Two unidentified men tried to get a little extra in their stocking this Christmas holiday.

On Christmas Eve, Grandview Police Department officials report that at least six fraudulent checks were cashed at local businesses in the community.

Grandview Police Department Detective Mark Ware said the bogus checks were represented as being payroll checks on the account of Valley Septic Service of Yakima. Ware said each of the checks bears a separate payee and is for an amount a bit less than $1,000.

Ware said officials at Valley Septic Service said the business was burglarized a few days ago. The suspects in the case took blank check stock, not only for Valley Septic Service but also Rush Excavating.

Ware said local businesses should be wary of any check on the Valley Septic Service or Rush Excavating accounts that are presented for cashing. He added that check numbers falling within the stolen checks from Valley Septic Service are from 45008 to 45099. The stolen check numbers on the Rush Excavating account are from 6514 to 6597. Ware said any business presented with a check from either account should make a phone call to the issuing bank before cashing.

In five of the Valley Septic Service check cashings in Grandview on Christmas Eve, fake Washington state identification cards were used, said Ware. In another incident, a fake Oregon identification was utilized.

Two other suspects, said Ware, attempted to cash two fraudulent checks from the Rush Excavating account. Ware said the suspects fled when the checks were being verified by telephone. The suspects left behind fake Washington identification cards. Ware said the identification cards are obvious forgeries, but the photos likely match the person using the identification.

The two names on the fake identification police department officials seized were Roberto Gomez, 25, of Yakima, 5'8", 180 lbs.; and Andres Martinez, 30, of Vancouver, 5'7", 190 lbs.

"We reiterate that the names and probably most, if not all, information on the ID used by the suspects are likely false," said Ware. "If anyone recognizes these individuals please let us know."

Anyone with information on the fraudulent checks can call the Grandview Police Department at 882-2000.

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