Former teaching assistant arrested on suspicion of trying to cash fake check

Thursday, November 15, 2007 | 5:18 p.m. CST; updated 8:21 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — The former MU teaching assistant charged last month with stealing 16 computers was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of forgery.

Columbia police arrested 27-year-old Marina D. Somers after they said she tried to cash a fake $1,500 check at a Bank of America, 3701 S. Providence Road.

Columbia police Sgt. Ken Hammond said the forgery case doesn’t appear to be connected with last month’s theft of 16 computers from MU’s German and Russian studies department. Hammond declined to speculate about any possible motive.

Police said that after Somers tried to cash the check, the teller learned that a “stop payment” order had been placed on the check number and called the check’s owner. The owner said he is an acquaintance of Somers and that the check had been stolen.

Somers confessed to stealing the check from the man’s house and subsequently filling it out, court documents say.

Somers, a former teaching assistant who taught elementary German at MU, was arrested in October. MU police used information from an online database of pawn shop sales to make the arrest. At least 11 of the laptops were pawned at Columbia stores.

About a week after the theft, MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said 10 of the computers had been recovered and returned to the German department. Weimer was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Somers was being held Thursday at Boone County Jail on a $4,974.68 bond. In addition to the forgery charge, she is also being held on a warrant for not paying fines relating to an excessive blood-alcohol content case in April. Somers’ next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 7 at the Boone County Courthouse.

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