ELLSWORTH — Police say a man has stolen at least 10 checks from area mailboxes in recent months and used them to spend more than $2,000 at a local hardware store.
Of the 10 stolen checks reported to police so far, nine have been used at Home Depot in Ellsworth. The other was recently used at Hannaford in Brewer, according to Detective Dotty Small.
In the past week, Ellsworth police have obtained surveillance footage from Home Depot of the man believed to have stolen and used the checks. Video and still images have been posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page.
Small said two people have also told her the suspect drives a maroon-colored Ford Taurus.
Police are in the process of obtaining surveillance footage from Hannaford. Small said she believes that may provide a clearer image of the suspect’s face.
Speaking Tuesday afternoon, Small said she had a “potential suspect” but was working on getting more information.
Small said she believes the same man passed all of the checks in Ellsworth as well as the one in Brewer. That’s because the check used in Brewer belonged to an Ellsworth woman who had another of her stolen checks used at Home Depot.
The checks were originally made out to pay various monthly bills, such as credit cards, satellite TV or utility companies.
In the case of the check used at the Brewer Hannaford, Small said the check was originally made payable to Bangor Hydro. The word “Bangor” was crossed out, and the “H” in “Hydro” was used to start the word “Hannaford.”
The suspect then writes the victim’s initials next to the changes to indicate the changes are acceptable.
In some cases, the checks are altered to an amount similar to the original amount, while in other cases the dollar figures differ greatly. Combined, the 10 checks total $2,260.35.