A man in a transit district uniform walked into an RTD office in East Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon and stole 90 payroll checks worth an estimated $100,000, officials said.
The theft, believed to have been committed by a present or former employee, occurred after 4 p.m., said Sgt. Paul Bryson of the Southern California Rapid Transit District's detective bureau.
"A person who was wearing what appeared to be an RTD shirt walked in and alluded that he was there to pick up some payroll checks," said Bryson. "There wasn't much conversation exchanged. (Employees) were expecting someone and someone came in."
Bryson, who said RTD investigators believe that they know who committed the crime, did not release any names or elaborate, saying the investigation is ongoing.
A stop notice was put on the stolen checks, RTD spokesman Jim Smart said. They were reissued so employees were paid on time Friday.
"We just believe it's an internal problem," said Bryson. "We can't say for sure, but we believe it's an employee trying to harass the district for a dispute they're having with the district."
The crime, he said, is being treated as a petty theft: "There's no loss (to the district) other than the printing of checks."
The theft was discovered when "the right person showed up to pick up the checks," said Smart.
He said he was not sure if the RTD had a security system to verify who employees are before allowing them to pick up checks.
Because the checks were made out to specific individuals, "they really have no value" to a thief, said Bryson. "It's more of an inconvenience to the district in regards to this."
Smart agreed, saying that the only way the checks would have value is "if somebody forges a signature."