Report: Bank employee took money from elderly man's account, blamed other customer

An employee at a Lincolnton bank was arrested after officials said he illegally withdrew money from an elderly man's account, then tried to put the blame on another bank customer.

Jeffery Dean Etchinson Jr, 33, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with embezzlement, identity theft, forgery of an instrument, uttering a forged instrument, and obtaining property by false pretense.

Etchinson was an employee of the Fifth Third Bank on the 2500 block of East Main Street.

Police say that on August 15, Etchinson made a withdrawal from an elderly man's savings account without the victim's permission, and kept the money.

On August 25, investigators said the victim contacted the bank and filed a police report after being notified of the withdrawal.

Etchinson was interviewed, but initially told police that another man, who investigators say had made a legal transaction just after Etchinson's withdrawal, was the offender.

Police identified and interviewed the man, but determined that he was a witness to the crime and not a suspect.

Etchinson was then interviewed a second time and confessed to the illegal withdrawal, as well as leading investigators to the wrong person.

He was then arrested and taken to the Lincoln County Jail where he was placed under a $25,000 bond.

Police say that the Fifth Third Bank cooperated fully and that the investigation is ongoing.