July 11, 2006
Sylvester -- The checks were stolen from a Worth County woman, and when the accused thieves handed them over to a teller to be cashed, they were caught. The teller's co-worker was the victim.
Joyce Powell said it's a funny story now. "Who would want to go break into somebody's house, and then show them the check and say 'Goody goody! I got your check.'"
A teller at the Sylvester Banking Company, Powell was at work when her co-worker in the drive-thru window told her someone was trying to cash one of her checks.
The checks were stolen from a Worth County woman, and when the accused thieves handed them over to a teller to be cashed, they were caught. "I said 'What check?' She said 'This check you gave to this guy.'"
Investigators say 27-year-old Calvin Barfield, 26-year-old Shannon Parrish, and 19-year-old Stacey Ellis had just broken into four rural Worth County homes, including Powell's.
Now minutes later, before Powell even knew about the break in, they were trying to cash her stolen checks. Powell said "I checked, and said, 'Someone's been in my house.'"
Stalling while they called Police, Barfield was told he had to come into the bank and show identification to get his money. "The drive in teller that took it, said 'Take your nameplate down so he won't see who you are,'" Powell said.
But he got suspicious. "When he figured out something was going on, he got antsy and left."
But the hapless crook left his Driver's License and Social Security Card, so it didn't take the Sheriff long to track him to an Albany motel. Sheriff Freddie Tompkins said, "We got a good description of the vehicle. And we knew the guy's name from his driver's license out there."
Sheriff Tompkins and his deputies, backed up Dougherty County and Albany Police, pulled over and arrested the three burglars near the Calhoun County line about midnight. They are being held in the Worth County jail, charged with burglary and forgery.
Tompkins says the three have also passed bad checks in Lee and Dougherty County, and charges there are pending. "It's just ironic that people would burglarize a house and go to the bank where the people work, and try to cash their check."
Joyce Powell said in a way she is glad the burglars picked her home to target. "Because if it had been somebody else's house, they may still be on the run."
And she is glad her co-workers at the bank keep a close eye out for their customers.
Powell said the Sheriff recovered a number of stolen items when they arrested the three burglars, but she has not been to his office to see if any of them are hers yet.