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Valley News Dispatch

Vandergrift woman accused of forging dead woman's checks

| Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, 1:45 p.m.

A Vandergrift woman declared a fugitive from justice after being accused in 2015 of covering her debts with checks from a dead woman’s bank account and stealing $400 will head to court.

Kathryn Marie Pekarek, 30, of Whittier Street, is charged with a felony count of forgery and related charges.

According to court documents, Washington Township police received a theft report from owners of a home on Fire Lane in August 2015.

The homeowners told police their bank had reported that a man attempted to cash a check issued against their deceased grandmother’s account. The checks had been stored in a lock box with $200 in cash, the homeowners told police.

The lock box was found pried open with the three checks and cash missing, court documents said.

The homeowners told police that a woman, later identified as Pekarek, had been staying at the home for several days when the checks and cash went missing. The homeowner believed that Pekarek’s name was actually Kathryn Geltz, according to court documents.

Police were able to identify the man who allegedly tried to cash the checks. The homeowner told police the man was an associate of Pekarek.

Police said the man told them Pekarek gave him the checks and told him that her grandmother was helping her pay for some bills. The man told police he confronted Pekarek after learning that the checks were from a dead person’s account, the court documents said.

“(Pekarek) acted like she was on her phone with her grandmother, and was heard saying, ‘Did you give me the wrong check?’ ” police wrote in court documents.

Police filed charges in November of 2016 after learning Pekarek’s true identity. She was declared a fugitive in June of 2017 and arrested in May.

Pekarek waived her right to a preliminary hearing scheduled Monday before District Judge Jason Buczak in Washington Township.

Pekarek is scheduled to appear before Judge Rita D. Hathaway on Nov. 20 for a plea court hearing. She is free on bond.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Matthew at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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