Forgery Ring Leads Deputies On Chase to High School

  • Tom Jirkovsky (shown with his sidekick Hootie) recognized the forger at Midway Market and called deputies.

    Tom Jirkovsky (shown with his sidekick Hootie) recognized the forger at Midway Market and called deputies.

By Patric Hedlund

Trying to dip twice into the same well may not have been a wise move for Arturo Garcia Monday night, Oct. 4.

At about 6:20 p.m. Tom Jirkovsky, a clerk at Midway Market, recognized a group trying to cash stolen checks. Several of the same people had cashed about six checks of about $370 each the evening before when he was on duty. They were Hispanic, of varying ages, including an older woman, he recalls.

Jirkovsky’s boss, Andy Khalil, had called him at noon Monday to tell him, "You really messed up." These were real Rabobank checks, but stolen, imprinted with the name of a Bakersfield company. The alleged forgers’ ID cards looked real, Jirkovsky said, but he’d been told to take only local checks. He understood he might have to take responsibility for the loss. Happily, he did not have to wait long to get revenge.

That evening, Jirkovsky said, he was surprised to see some of the same people come in to cash checks again. "I recognized the people and the rainbow design on the check." He took the check and called 911 as the suspects fled in a light 2007 Chevy Impala.

Garcia, 31 was driving.

Kern County Deputy Darren Wonderly located the Impala on Frazier Mountain Park Road. Garcia led Wonderly and other units in a short chase onto Falcon Way, which leads to a dead end at Frazier Mountain High school. He swerved into a rough field where the Impala got stuck. Garcia and two passengers leapt out and ran. Deputies caught Garcia. The two passengers escaped into the hills.

At least three Kern County sheriff’s units, two CHP units and Ventura County Deputy Ryan Clark assisted. Garcia was identified by Jirkovsky, then booked into the Taft City Jail where he is held on $37,500 bond for two felonies and three misdemeanor charges.

Jirkovsky said he was told Garcia’s address is in Bakersfield but the car is registered in Compton. He believes the ring has hit other local stores also.

This is part of the October 08, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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