A 28-year-old Medford man was talking with Chase bank tellers about freezing his account after being a victim of check fraud, when the very man allegedly cashing his checks arrived at the bank with another forged check.
David Henneman stopped with a friend at the Chase bank inside the Southgate Fred Meyer at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday to figure out how to stop fraudulent checks that had gone through his account the previous day.
As Henneman discussed the problem with tellers, Matthew John Frombach, 37, of Medford, walked in to cash another check for $150 supposedly written by Henneman, police said.
Lt. Mike Budreau said police believe Frombach forged three of Henneman's checks for about $700 total earlier in the week and was attempting to cash another. The bank tellers recognized what was happening and tried to stall Frombach until police arrived, Budreau said.
"All of a sudden this shady guy comes in, and I didn't notice because I was looking at these checks," Henneman said.
He saw the shock on the teller's face, though, as she pieced together what was happening.
"The teller's eyes just got huge and she said, 'Oh my gosh, I think that's him,'" Henneman recounted.
While bank employees tried to delay Frombach, he became suspicious and made an excuse to use the bathroom. But he passed the rest rooms and headed for the exit, Henneman said.
"They wouldn't let me leave with veins popping out of my forehead, so my buddy went after him," Henneman said. "The tellers said, 'You're a good guy, we don't want you to go to jail.'"
Henneman's friend, Josh Rigiero, 28 of Ashland, followed Frombach and attempted to stop the man from leaving, saying he was from the bank and needed to speak with him further, Henneman said.
"Then he cold-cocked my buddy," Henneman said. "My friend got up and chased the guy down in flip flops, just tackled him right on top of the sidewalk and gave him a few love taps."
Rigiero held Frombach to the ground until police arrived.
"I think he definitely slowed him down until the cops could catch up," Henneman said of Rigiero. "He's all right; he's got a pretty good shiner. We went and floated the river afterwards."
Frombach was arrested on charges of first-degree forgery, theft, criminal possession of a forged instrument, negotiating a bad check, disorderly conduct, fourth-degree assault, harassment and resisting arrest. He was booked into Jackson County Jail, but has since been released, records show. ( this story has been updated to include Josh Rigiero's name).
Budreau said police found several credit cards belonging to other people in Frombach's possession.
Henneman said he had ordered checks recently, but had never received them. He suspects they were stolen out of his mailbox.
Henneman praised the Chase bank tellers. "They handled it like professionals. I can't say enough good things about them," he said.
Henneman has closed his compromised account and opened a new one in which he should receive a full refund of the checks that were cashed fraudulently.
"It will be a good story to tell for years to come," Henneman said.
— Mandy Valencia