When the bank teller entered the check number into the system it came up on the computer screen flashing "lost, stolen or invalid," said Lt. Mark Williams. "Upon further review of the account the teller learned that the check was bogus."
The suspect, Delvin Jones, 27, of Oakland, had altered the check, writing in his name as the recipient. When the teller called the owner of the check she said she had never heard of Jones.
Police arrived at the bank, detained Jones and questioned him. He claimed he had no idea the check was fraudulent, saying it was given to him as payment for some landscaping work he did.
"Which was not the case, or was very unlikely," said Williams. "This gentleman could provide us with no information whatsoever."
The suspect couldn't say who he did the landscape work for or even the name of the person who wrote the check. He was charged with possession of a counterfeit check and booked into Martinez Detention Facility.
"These days it's somewhat difficult to successfully pass a counterfeit check at a bank," Williams said. "Other places it may be a little bit easier, but at a bank, with all the checks and balances they have in place, it's usually pretty difficult."
The bank's computer system caught Jones' fake check right away because the owner had reported it as missing. Williams said it's imperative that people call police and their bank when they discover a missing check or stolen checkbook.
"This check - from what I remember it was a pretty good job that the person did that altered it," Williams said. "So I don't know in this particular case if they would have noticed that."