Authorities are seeking a 44-year-old man suspected of using phony identifications, glue, erasers and a rubber stamp set to alter traveler’s checks and swindle merchants in Buena Park, Anaheim and Los Angeles and Riverside counties, a Buena Park police spokesman said.
The suspect, Merle Timothy Anderson, address unknown, is alleged to have swindled florists and drug, liquor, grocery and department stores of about $50,000 during the past six months, Police Officer Terry Branum said.
Anderson allegedly has been buying traveler’s checks from several banks in $10 denominations, Branum said. The suspect then glues $100 denominations to the corners and uses a red stamp pad reading “one hundred dollars” to inscribe the checks, Branum said.
“He purchases about $20 worth of items and walks out with $80 cash,” Branum said.
His aliases include Joe Cobb, Timothy Welch and Joe Richard Cobb, among 20 or so names, Police Sgt. Chris Bentley said, adding: “Every time he passes one (bad check) he uses a different name.” He also has been known to use fictitious identifications showing that he is a resident of California, Georgia, Iowa and Delaware, Branum said.
He allegedly buys the checks from several banks, although he recently has been passing Citicorp cashier’s checks, Branum said.