Brookings police arrest 3 people in check fraud scheme

Brookings police report the arrest of three people accused of stealing checks out of mailboxes and attempting to pass fraudulent checks.

Detective Adam Smith says they received a report Wednesday of a man trying to pass a fraudulent check at a local bank. The suspect left before polcie arrived but bank employees were able to describe the vehicle which was stopped by the Highway Patrol on I-29.

Thirty-nine-year-old Phillip Piper Jr. of Sioux Falls was arrested for passing a forged instrument. Thirty-six-year-old Shankissia Cato of Loganville, Georgia and 25-year-old Travaris Johnson of Atlanta, Georgia were arrested for possession of a forged instrument and aiding and abetting.

It’s alleged that Cato and Johnson were stealing mail out of local businesses’ mailboxes to obtain checks. They printed fraudulent checks belonging to local businesses and recruited homeless people to cash them. The suspects were likely involved in a similar incident in Toronto, SD on July 11th.

Brookings Police later received a report of similar incidents at three other banks in Brookings. It’s believed a second group of individuals are involved. They are likely driving a white Ford Edge with Florida plates.


July 17, 2023