Cookeville police search for suspect running check cashing scheme

Cookeville police search for suspect running check cashing scheme (Image 1)

Cookeville police are on the hunt for the person behind a check cashing scheme.

Police said a confrontation took place at the FSNB Bank inside a Walmart on the 700 block of South Jefferson Avenue last Wednesday after a woman came face-to-face with the suspect she said allegedly stole and cashed checks from her account.

According to a police report, the suspect was in the process of cashing in on another check when the unlikely encounter took place.

Detectives said the victim, Melissa Tinch, was at the bank to check on the status of her account after learning several of her blank checks had been stolen, including two that had been cashed in for $950.

Tinch believes the brazen crime started at her Cookeville home last Tuesday when crooks broke in and stole a laptop and about $100 in cash.

The following day Tinch had no clue the bandits also took several blank checks from her checkbook, but something in her gut told her to go to her bank to check on her account.

“I went down to the bank trying to take care of it and then they realized that there was a $300 check wrote on me and then a $650 check wrote in a 24-hour period,” said Tinch.

As Tinch was being assisted by the bank staffers, a woman sat right beside her attempting to cash a check. Bank employees quickly noticed the $580 dollar check the woman handed them belonged to Tinch.

Tinch then quickly confronted the woman.

“She started crying and telling me not to call police,” said Tinch.

Tinch approached the unknown woman questioning her about the check in her hand.

The suspect told Tinch she received it from a relative after a babysitting stint.

Tinch said she tried desperately to take the check from the female suspect, which eventually ripped.

Shortly after, the suspect took off running from the bank leaving behind the other half of the ripped check.

Tinch is stuck dealing with the long and tedious task of trying to recover her lost funds. Funds she said were going toward supporting her three young foster children.

“I hope she’s caught and I hope they sock it to her,” said Tinch.

A spokesperson for the Cookeville Police Department told News 2 they are currently working to obtain the surveillance video of the unlikely encounter.

The suspect is described as a white female with blonde hair.

She was last seen wearing a pink shirt, light-colored pants and a light-colored purse.

Anyone with information on the suspect’s identity or whereabouts is urged to call the Cookeville Police Criminal Investigator Division at 931-520-5165.

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