BAKER — A man accused of stealing an elderly woman’s checkbook and forging checks totaling $1,300 while on assignment from a Baker church to do odd jobs at the woman’s house has been arrested, the Police Department reported Wednesday.
The 87-year-old woman was incapacitated in the hospital when four checks were cashed and the suspect attempted to cash two more on Jan. 9, police Capt. Darryl Rainwater said.
Stephen Rodrigue, 52, had been living in a substance abuse recovery clinic operated by Miracle Place Church of Baker and was assigned by its parishioners to do odd jobs at the house while she was incapacitated, Rainwater said investigators learned.
Rodrigue gave the church’s address as his own address when he was booked at Parish Prison on Tuesday on six counts each of bank fraud and forgery and one count of theft of assets from an elderly or disabled person, according to booking records.
Rainwater said a teller at a Baker bank noticed discrepancies in two $300 checks that Rodrigue is accused of trying to cash on Jan. 9.
The teller checked the signatures against the woman’s signature card on file and noticed they did not match, Rainwater said.
When Rodrigue questioned the teller about the delay in cashing the checks, he drove off, leaving behind his state-issued identification card, the Police Department spokesman said.
Bank employees later found four similar checks totaling $700 that had been cashed earlier in January, Rainwater said.
Rodrigue is accused of using a copy of the key to the woman’s home to gain entrance to her house.