Man charged with trying to cash stolen check where owner works

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A 21-year-old man made a poor choice of businesses when he tried to cash a stolen check Friday.

Police arrested Mark Diaz after they say he tried to cash a check at a local Safeway store. Trouble is, the owner of the check, Eric Sleiga, works there.

Sleiga on Friday reported to police that his backpack, with the checkbook inside, had been stolen. As an extra precaution, he told his store managers and cashiers to be on the lookout for the stolen checks.

Fairbanks Officer Jimmy Lowe Jr. said Safeway employees called police when Diaz tried to purchase $83 in groceries with a check that belonged to Sleiga.

Diaz was charged with third-degree theft and second-degree forgery.

He told police the check had been given to him by two friends.

Store manager Cliff Allison said employees are getting used to unusual events.

''Everybody is kind of chuckling,'' Allison said. ''There's a lot of dumb things going on right now.''

For example, Allison said, just the other day a man came in with a helmet on and knocked over a Pepsi display with his head while his friends videotaped it.

''It's never boring,'' Allison said.

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