Barclay’s clerk Liz Igbawua remembers being a little perplexed when the teenage girl gleefully piling tops and dresses over her arm didn’t bother to try any of them on. But the girl’s indulgent dad murmured something about it being her birthday, and paid with a local check from the U-M Credit Union. “Dr. Steven Grant” showed Igbawua his driver’s license, she rang up the sale, and the two skipped happily out the door.
Dr. Grant is indeed a real person–but he has two sons and no daughters, and he wasn’t in Barclay’s that day “We got nailed for $273,” says a rueful Dan Heikkinen, owner of the Main Street shop. “Of course you don’t know until your check comes back two weeks later.”
When the check bounced, Heikkinen walked up and down Main Street to alert other merchants. Turns out Sixteen Hands, Peaceable Kingdom, Footprints, and Crazy Wisdom had also gotten hit on the same day, though descriptions of the girl’s hair color varied (he suspects disguises), and the check signer’s name was different at Peaceable Kingdom.
“We didn’t have much to go on,” admits AAPD sergeant Brian Jatczak. “Usually when this happens, the checks are stolen, but these account numbers were completely phony.” Altogether, the Main Street scammers made off with more than $2,000 worth of merchandise. For Heikkinen’s small shop, $273 is a big bite. Checks are no longer welcome there.