The San Marcos Sheriff's Station is looking for a woman who responds to ads posted in businesses, the Penny Saver, and craigslist for rooms to rent. The suspect calls and arrives to see the room, then agrees to give the homeowner a deposit of usually $200. She gives a pre-written check, usually for $800, and asks the victim to deposit it into their personal account because she is unable to cash the check herself. She tells them the check, which is from another person's account, is from her prior landlord.
The suspect then accompanies her would-be landlord to their bank. Upon depositing the check, the landlord keeps the rent "deposit" and gives the suspect back the difference in cash, approximately $600. After the woman pockets the money, the homeowner never hears from her again. The bank eventually determines the check is stolen or invalid and deducts payment from the victim’s account.
According to detective Michelle Craig, there are at least five known victims in San Marcos, Unincorporated Escondido, and the City of San Diego, but likely many more. Most are Hispanic, and the suspect is likely bilingual. Her modes of transportation include the North County Sprinter, bus, cab, or bicycle. Images of the suspect have been captured by bank cameras. She is described as white or hispanic, 5'2”, in her mid 30s with dark hair and eyes and a heavy build. She is slightly masculine in appearance, according to victims.