06/10/09 — Man charged with stealing from patient

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Man charged with stealing from patient

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on June 10, 2009 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- A Waldrop Road man faces charges for stealing about $24,000 from a neighbor under long-term medical care, authorities say.

Thomas Woodrow Rice Sr., 49, charges of check forgery and obtaining property through false pretenses, and was jailed under $100,000 bond.

Investigation by Detective Sgt. Michael Kabler turned up the theft after the Wayne County Department of Social Services advised him of problems with the account of Janice Jeffries.

Capt. Tom Effler said the Sheriff's Office does not have proof that Rice stole Ms. Jeffries' checks, but believe that is the only way he could have obtained him.

"That's the impression we're getting. He had no reason to have the checks; it's common sense that he stole them," Effler said.

Among the purchases that Rice allegedly made on Ms. Jeffries' account were vehicle registration with the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, payment on his power bills, and purchasing a vehicle, authorities said.

He also made numerous cash purchases, Effler said.

Rice faces 28 each counts of check forgery, uttering forged checks, and obtaining property by false pretenses, according to a news release.