Restaurant employee steals $8,000 cash and more on his first day

MONROE, CT — A man who started a job on a trial basis at Xiang Chinese Kitchen, 525 Main St., stole a black backpack on his first day, which contained $8,000 cash from the business and the owner’s driver’s license, Social Security card and several credit cards, according to police.

The suspect, described as a hunchbacked Asian man, five-feet-nine-or-10 inches tall with black hair, was wearing black jeans, an army green T-shirt and a surgical face covering on Sunday, May 14, the day of the theft, police said.

He drove what appeared to be a black Nissan sedan with Connecticut registration plates, but the restaurant did not get the number.

Police said the suspect was hired online through an app helping users find employees who can speak Mandarin Chinese. The man called and said he wanted to do a trial run for the job posting and would come to the restaurant on May 14.

The victim did not get the man’s identification at the time, because it was a trial run, police said. The suspect worked in the kitchen that day.

At around 7:30 p.m., the owner went to grab an item from the freezer and when he returned the unknown male was no longer there and his vehicle was gone, according to the report.

Then the owner noticed his backpack was missing from underneath the counter by the cash register.

He canceled his stolen credit cards and police advised him to notify the three major credit bureaus, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Social Security Administration of the incident.

The case is being investigated by the Monroe Police Detective Division.

Pedestrian struck by vehicle

A 51-year-old Monroe man escaped serious injury when his leg was run over by a silver 2021 Chrysler Voyager on Meadow Brook Drive early Monday morning.

A 28-year-old West Haven woman, who had stopped her Voyager in front of the man’s home to pick him up, told officers he started to walk into the road to approach a garbage truck at a nearby residence.

When she got out of her vehicle to try to get him off the road safely, her vehicle was still in drive, police said, adding it rolled forward and went over the man’s left leg.

Minor scrapes and a swollen knee were visible on the pedestrian’s leg and Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service personnel took him to St. Vincent’s Medical Center for treatment.

The driver was issued a warning for leaving a motor vehicle without setting the brakes.

Thief uses ATM to steal money

A 67-year-old Monroe woman reported the theft of over $1,800 from her M&T Bank account via two fraudulent ATM transactions.

When discovering the theft Monday, she checked her online statement to find two more pending unauthorized transactions.

Later, at the bank branch at 401 Monroe Turnpike, a teller told her the charges were made from an ATM machine at an unknown location and that she should file a police report.

The fraudulent withdrawals, which include ATM service fees, were made on Monday for $1,003 and $803, for a total of $1,806.

M&T Bank had not credited the amount to the victim at the time, though its fraud department is doing a follow up investigation, police said.

The woman closed her compromised ATM card and was advised to check with the financial institutions she does business with for any other fraudulent activities, as well as contacting the three major credit bureaus.

A fraudulent ATM transaction

A 72-year-old Monroe woman told police she discovered an unauthorized ATM withdrawal of $1,000 from her M&T Bank account Tuesday and reported it to the bank.

The bank told her the transaction was made at a machine in Queens, N.Y., and that she should file a police report.

She told police she was never in New York. The withdrawal added $3 ATM service charge, increasing the loss to $1,003.

The victim canceled her ATM card and anticipates she will be reimbursed by the bank, police said. She was advised to contact the three major credit bureaus and to monitor her account. The case is being handled by M&T Bank’s fraud department.

Facebook won’t make it stop

A Monroe woman told police her Facebook account was hacked in 2020 and the email address was changed so she could not log back into it. After notifying Facebook, the company took the page down. It was dormant since November of 2020, but now it’s back in use.

The fake page pretended to be her and started reposting her friend’s posts as its own.

Then two weeks ago, police said two new messages advertising puppies for sale for $100 each told buyers to message the victim. She notified Facebook, which removed the posts, but declined to take the page down because it did not violate any of its community guidelines.

On Monday, the woman told police the hacked account showed a post about the sale of crypto currency with a photo of a certificate on a computer with a blue credit card without a name and number on it.

Thinking it was her, older relatives congratulated the victim on the post.

Police said she does not believe any personal information was compromised. She was advised to continue to report the problem to Facebook and to tell people she knows it is no longer her page.

Guitar sale costly to the seller

A 20-year-old Monroe man told police he was cheated out of over $2,400 while selling his bass guitar online.

He advertised his guitar for $500 on Reverb.com and a potential buyer contacted him, saying he would send him a $2,980 cashier’s check, with the extra money for the mover. The victim was told he should send the difference back to the buyer after depositing the check into his bank account.

The Monroe man received the check via FedEx. It said Zing Credit Union on it, but had no address, police said. Since he found the credit union online, he thought the check was legitimate and deposited it into his M&T Bank savings account, police said.

After the check cleared, the buyer told him to send the $2,430 difference to a Zelle account under the username of Jose King. When the victim told him Zelle allows a maximum transaction of $1,400 per day, the buyer told him to send money to two different accounts.

The Monroe man sent $1,000 to Jose King on Zelle and $1,400 to a Zelle account for Joe Lode. The remaining $30 was sent to a Venmo account under Samantha Jack.

On the day the buyer was supposed to pick up the guitar, he told the victim the mover’s van broke down and he could not make it. The Monroe man tried to reschedule, but never heard back.

On Monday, he received a notification from his bank that the deposit into his account was reversed and the account was frozen due to fraudulent activity. The bank manager said M&T Bank will investigate the fraud and told the victim he should file a police report.

Police told the victim to monitor suspicious activity and to be more cautious when selling to parties online.

A Google check of the suspect showed all listed accounts from Australia with no other web results, police said, adding no other useful information was found while investigating the Zelle and Venmo accounts

M&T Bank’s financial crimes division and the Monroe Police Detective Division are investigating the case.

DUI on Church Street

A 48-year-old Newtown woman was charged with DUI after officers found her sleeping at the wheel of her white 2017 Honda CRV, which was parked with the engine running on Church Street, near Abbey Road, Wednesday evening, according to police.

She was released after posting 10 percent of her $500 bond for a May 30 court date.

At approximately 6:35 p.m., officers got her attention and noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath while speaking with her, police said.

She reportedly told officers she wasn’t sleeping and had only stopped to take a break. She said she was going home, but when asked where she was coming from, she said her house, according to the report.

Then she told police she was going to pick up Indian food from a restaurant in Monroe, but officers observed she was on the opposite side of town, police said.

Asked if she consumed alcohol, she told officers she had one beer, according to the report.

But her performance on field sobriety tests were not to standard and a breath test at headquarters showed a blood alcohol content of 0.1705, which is over twice the legal limit, police said, adding the second test 20 minutes later was 0.1543.

A stolen Chevy Tahoe

A 47-year-old Woodlawn Road man reported his gray 2008 Chevy Tahoe stolen from his driveway Thursday morning and told officers his brother’s vehicle was rummaged through, but nothing was taken.

He told police he parked his Tahoe in the driveway around 8 p.m. the night before, and discovered the theft while leaving his house early the next morning. The complaint was made at 6:34 a.m.

Police said the victim told officers he did not remember if his vehicle was unlocked, but that he had possession of both sets of keys.

Officers checked for video surveillance with negative results. The theft is under investigation.

Stolen mail

A 58-year-old Round Hill Drive woman told police someone stole close to $300 worth of checks from her mailbox Thursday afternoon.

At around 11:15 a.m. she told officers she saw a dark gray BMW stop in front of her residence but, figuring it was someone putting advertisements inside her mailbox, she thought nothing of it, police said.

However, when she went outside to see what the person had left, she noticed two checks valued at $95 and $200 she was mailing out were missing, according to the report.

Police said she was unable to get the license number of the BMW, but she believes it may have had Massachusetts plates.

Officers canvassed the neighborhood, but found no witnesses, surveillance cameras or other reports of stolen mail.

The victim was advised to contact her bank and monitor her accounts for any suspicious activity.

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