Suspect in check-stealing scheme arrested

Stephens County--Investigators in Stephens County say the check-stealing bandit who raided mailboxes has been caught.  Lindsey Bare is suspected of stealing checks out of rural Stephens County mailboxes, changing the amounts, then cashing them at Wal-Marts in Duncan and Lawton.  Authorities believe she's been doing the same thing in nine counties.

Investigators told 7NEWS their first break in the case came from a tip from a viewer who saw the surveillance video in a story we ran in early May. The viewer said she recognized Bare, and it turns out, Bare was no stranger to investigators in Stephens County.

Back in July 2006, Bare was involved in high-speed chase with police that started in Stephens County, and ended in Montague County, Texas.  She was a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend Christopher Smith.  After the chase, Smith was arrested and charged with eluding police, but Bare was released.  Since then, she's been traveling from her home in the Tulsa area to visit Smith in the Stephens County jail.

Investigators believe she was using the money from the stolen checks to finance her trips to southwest Oklahoma, and possibly even using it for drugs.  Sergeant Rodney Richards of the Stephens County Sheriff's Department says the checks connected to Bare total more than $30,000 in a three-month period.  Investigators in other counties are still counting up their losses, so that tally could rise.

Bare is now in the Stephens County jail, awaiting her preliminary hearing on fraud and possibly more charges.  As far as Christopher Smith, he's awaiting his formal sentencing and is expected to take a 30-year plea bargain on drug charges and eluding police.