Man reports $1,300 missing from idle checking account

Joanna Dornfeld

A Minneapolis man filed a police report last week after an unknown individual withdrew approximately $1,300 within the last two months from his US Bank checking account.

Mark Watson stopped using the account in 2000 when he ran out of checks. The account remained inactive since then.

“I can’t figure out for the life of me how they accessed my records,” Watson said.

Watson’s last bank statement said he had $512 left in his account. Watson went to close the account Monday and discovered the account was overdrawn by about $840.

“This kind of stuff happens a lot,” said Lt. Dana Smyser, who works in the Minneapolis Police Department Forgery and Fraud Unit.

Watson said he does not know how the individual obtained his account number. None of his checks have ever been stolen.

“Check fraud is something we guard against every day,” said US Bank spokesman Steve Dale.

Watson must wait for US Bank to pursue the individual or individuals accessing his account. His money will be returned through Federal Depositor’s Insurance, Watson said.

Check forgery and using stolen credit cards happens frequently. The Minneapolis Forgery and Fraud Unit had 1,800 reported cases last year, Smyser said.

“A lot of the crime that is solvable does not get solved because of the sheer numbers,” he said.

The most important precaution individuals can take is to keep track of their financial information, Smyser said. If criminals can’t steal checks and credit cards, future crimes will not occur.

In other police news:

ï A Florida man assaulted a friend he was visiting in the friend’s Minneapolis home Nov. 19.

Robert Cardinal of Minneapolis called police after Steven Benson of Miami, Fla. – Cardinal’s friend of more than 30 years – broke his finger.

The two men were watching the Vikings game and talking when Benson snapped and attacked him, Cardinal said.

“We had a little testosterone going,” he said. Cardinal said he does not remember what caused the conversation to escalate.

In the course of the conversation, Cardinal made an obscene gesture. Benson then threatened to break Cardinal’s fingers, Cardinal said.

Benson was sitting next to Cardinal, who was sitting in an easy chair, and jumped on him, Cardinal said.

“He snapped,” Cardinal said. “He went into a rage and attacked me.”

Cardinal asked Benson to leave. Benson would not leave, so Cardinal called the police and made a citizen’s arrest, he said.

Cardinal said he plans to press charges.

“I’m still shocked,” he said. Cardinal said he will not attempt to repair the relationship.

Benson was unavailable for comment.

ï Unknown burglars broke into the Pioneer Hall dining hall at 615 Fulton Street in the late evening of Nov. 20 or the early morning of Nov. 21.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson, said the burglars removed three screens from unlocked windows to enter the building. The burglars stole pots from the refrigerator.

The investigation is inactive pending further information.

Joanna Dornfeld welcomes comments at [email protected]