MCDONOUGH, Ga. - McDonough Police are searching for a trio of men who have been busy scamming banks by passing bad checks.
Investigators said two of the three seem to be recruiters who are bringing homeless people on board to take all the risk.
"The check is made out to a name. He produces an ID with that name and on it and he also puts his thumbprint on it," said Detective TF Spangenberg of the McDonough Police Department.
Spangenberg said police got wind of the bad check scheme when a man entered Heritage Bank on Keys Ferry Street last week with a counterfeit check of more than $600.
A couple of minutes later he says another man entered.
"And he actually says to him, ‘Hey, you're taking too long, we gotta leave,’" said Detective Spangenberg.
In about another minute a third man entered, who also hurried the first man out of the bank, as a teller is scrutinizing the counterfeit check.
"When he left he was able to snatch the original check he tried to cash," said Detective Spangenberg.
Spangenberg said the address of a phony business on the bogus check was near a homeless shelter in Atlanta. He believes the two men rushing the first man out of the bank recruited him from the shelter.
"What they say to them is say ‘Hey, look, I got this $600 check, cash it for me, it'll take you five minutes and we'll give you $50,’" said Detective Spangenberg.
Across the street from the bank at the BP gas station McDonough resident, Bob Murphy expressed disdain for the recruiters.
"That's somebody that needs to be in jail that would take a homeless person and temp them like that," said Murphy.
McDonough Police strongly suspect the two recruiters and a homeless helper scammed another McDonough Heritage Bank on Hampton Road out of hundreds of dollars using a bogus check a day earlier.
Investigators said the risk is taken by the homeless helpers, who usually have some form of ID, who present the bogus checks to the banks, and don't know who the recruiters are.
"When we interview them they're gonna tell us ‘Hey, look, I have no clue who this person is,’" said Detective Spangenberg.
Bob Murphy hopes the police do find the recruiters.
"Get the guy that's doing that, that's the guy that needs to be gotten," said Murphy.
McDonough Police said they made some arrests in a similar bogus check scheme involving recruiters and homeless helpers about a year ago.