Enfield locksmith allegedly made secret key to embezzle from WRJ's Club Steam and Engine Room
Checks were taken from office and forged
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A New Hampshire locksmith stands accused of forging over six-thousand dollars’ worth of checks which he allegedly stole from within a locked office at the popular Engine Room co-working space in downtown White River Junction.
Michael Heed Jr., 42, of Enfield pleaded innocent this past week to 16 separate misdemeanor counts of petty larceny, each of which carry a maximum potential penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a thousand-dollar fine if he were to be convicted.
Amy Robb, owner of the Engine Room, a kind of part-time office workspace for the self-employed and others who need some place to set up their laptops, told Hartford Police investigators that she discovered serious discrepancies in her company's bank records right at the first of June.
Every Thursday night Robb turns the Engine Room’s open airy space, which sits just off South Main Street on the opposite end of The Freight House building from the Elixir restaurant, into an impromptu nightclub venue known as “Club Steam.”
Robb told the police that she hired Heed in April to be her head of security and serve as the bouncer for the Club Steam events and she put him in charge of hiring DJ’s and providing sound and lighting systems at the events.
Since Heed is also a locksmith, Robb wrote in her sworn statement that she paid him $86 dollars on April 21st to re-key and replace several interior door locks at her facility using a master key supplied by the building’s landlord.
Robb said that she later discovered that within days of the locks having been changed Heed was allegedly “getting into the building and stealing checks.”
“I only became aware of the missing checks at the beginning of June (and at first) I didn’t realize the magnitude of the situation,” Robb wrote.
With the help of her bank, Robb said she quickly determined that sixteen checks worth $6,681 had apparently been forged during the months of April and May using a crude imitation of her signature.
Robb told police in her sworn statement that she felt the total losses, which included cash she said she given to Heed to pass on to DJ’s who later claimed they had never received the funds, were higher than the bank’s figure. Robb wrote in paperwork filed with the court, “To date, Mr. Heed has over $8,000 of my money and has taken precious time and resources from me and the business.”
Hartford Police Officer Simon Keeling wrote in his own affidavit that the checks were allegedly stolen from an unlocked filing cabinet within the Engine Room’s manager’s office.
Keeling added that all of the checks received and cashed by the bank were made out to Heed and “endorsed on the back with what appears to be the same signature.”
Police also interviewed several employees at the bank branch in Enfield where the checks had been cashed and received sworn statements from tellers there saying that they knew Heed well enough to recognize him and specifically recalled him coming in and cashing several checks from the Engine Room.
Copies of text messages between Heed and Robb that were included in the court’s files showed Heed purportedly offering to pay back the money in full after Robb told him she was contacting police but there was no indication as to whether he had done so.
Heed’s previous New Hampshire criminal record includes convictions for theft by deception, disorderly conduct and reckless conduct and also includes a 2009 conviction for bad checks for which he received a one-year suspended sentence.
Michael Heed Jr., 42, of Enfield, New Hampshire is facing 16 counts of petty larceny in Vermont
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