ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Orangeburg County deputies have arrested two sisters for writing bad checks and pawning the merchandise for cash. One of the women is being called a serial forger because she got out of jail in April, and is accused of writing more bad checks just weeks later.
"Be very, very cautious when taking these checks," said Orangeburg County Interim Sheriff Barbara Walters. "By the time the checks are returned, she's gone. All of the merchandise is gone."
Walters said Charlene Robinson wrote bad checks all over the county, and used her sister, Stephanie Ann Robinson, to help. "She's hitting the smaller businesses which don't have the machinery that would take the money out of the account immediately."
Stephanie turned herself in on Wednesday, and deputies arrested Charlene later that day.
"She's going from merchant to merchant acquiring goods with checks, then going to other businesses such as local pawn brokers and selling them to obtain monies," explained Walters.
Walters says she has 10 arrest warrants for Charlene Robinson and another five for her sister, but they could've been committing the crime all over the state.
Charlene just got out of jail in April for a similar crime. "Shortly thereafter, it started up again," said Walters.
Deputies said the Robinsons targeted small businesses who could be crippled by crimes like these.
"They definitely have no morals and no principal," said Chris Spencer, who is upset that his family's Orangeburg business, Palmetto Outdoor Equipment, is a victim. "To do that to somebody else with their business, when all they're doing is trying to provide for their family, that makes it even worse."
The small company is just one of several hit by the Robinsons. Spencer says she wrote a check on November 15 for a lawnmower and backpack blower. "She acted like she was going Christmas shopping," said Spencer.
She took the $760 items and sold them to Woody's for Cash. She only got 175 dollars, about 25% of the items' value. "She ended up coming back about three days later and did the same thing to another employee," said Spencer.
This time the check was for two chainsaws and a hedge clipper, worth more than $1,200. That's when Spencer got suspicious, but it wasn't until someone bought the blower from an Orangeburg pawn shop that Spencer put the pieces together. "I recognized it," he said. "I verified the model and serial number on it."
The two chainsaws and hedge clipper are now back in the store. Spencer knows where the lawn mower and backpack blower are, but hasn't gotten them back yet.