by: Henry Rosoff Updated:
SEATTLE - Seattle police said thieves used forged checks to steal thousands of dollars from the Rainer Beach Safeway-- and they did it using the old checks of a disabled veteran. "I was really angry, very angry," said LeRoy Gibson, who served in the Korean War. "It took a few friends in my building to calm me down."
Police called and told him a closed account of his was linked to a $21,000 scam. Gibson is not out of money, but said the situation upsets him because he feels somewhat helpless.
Court documents allege scam was an inside job, because Jessica Malla worked at Safeway as a customer service cashier. The documents lay out how Malla would use her position to exchange checks for gift cards without verifying the IDs of her alleged partners in crime: Toni Banks, Rebecca Day, and Ashley Sencil. Documents also show the group used checks somehow stolen from J.R. Abbott Construction, in addition to the checks Gibson said he threw away after closing an old bank account a few years ago.
"My shredder was over at my daughter's house," Gibson said. "So I just started ripping things up, and I guess I really didn't do a really good job."
Eventually, a manager at Safeway caught on to the fraud and used surveillance video to confirm her suspicions. Police said everyone confessed to the scam, but are accusing one another of being the ring leader. All four suspects face multiple counts of theft and forgery. They will be arraigned June 24.