A parolee was arrested Wednesday after trying to pass a fraudulent check at a local bank, police said.
Jacinto Marquez, 31, entered Chase bank, 17599 Monterey Road, Saturday and tried to deposit an “obviously forged or altered” check, Morgan Hill police Sgt. Troy Hoefling said.
Marquez allegedly attempted to deposit the $550 check into his own account.
Someone reported the suspicious activity to police, who responded to the bank Tuesday, Hoefling said.
Hoefling said the check appeared to be “washed,” meaning Marquez stole a signed and written check from an unsuspecting resident’s outgoing mailbox. He altered the check, changing the name or company on the line indicating who the payment was for, to his own name.
The bank contacted the owner of the check, who confirmed the check had been stolen out of his or her mailbox several days earlier, Hoefling said.
Police determined that Marquez was out of jail and on active parole for a previous assault with a deadly weapon conviction, Hoefling said.
Officers visited Marquez’s residence on Calle Asta Wednesday, police said. They conducted a parole compliance search and found a number of other allegedly stolen pieces of mail. Police are in the process of attempting to contact the victims.
Marquez was arrested without incident on suspicion of passing a forged check and possession of stolen property. He was booked into Santa Clara County jail.
Police recommend that residents use a secured mailbox for incoming mail, and to drop off outgoing mail into a U.S. Postal Service box or hand it directly to the carrier.
“A mailbox with a flag raised is an invitation for thieves,” Hoefling said.
The case is still under investigation, as police think Marquez might have deposited other stolen or fraudulent checks prior to this incident. Anyone with information about the crime may contact the Morgan Hill police department at (408) 779-2101 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 947-7867.
Anyone who thinks they are a victim may contact the nonprofit Identity Theft Council at (888) 771-0767.