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Check schemers land in jail after chase

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By TRISTA LUTGRING
Feature Writer

TELL CITY – A call from a local bank to the Tell City Police Department Wednesday turned into a chase and the arrest of three North Carolina men suspected of counterfeiting.

Wednesday morning, an employee of German American Rivergate branch contacted TCPD about a male subject attempting to cash a fraudulent check. The employee advised police the subject had left the bank, got into the back seat of a dark-colored vehicle and left the scene.

According to a press release from Lt. Detective Alan Malone, officers were dispatched and spotted a vehicle matching the description at the intersection of 12th and Washington streets. Once officers were in position, attempts were made to stop the vehicle. However, after pulling over for a short time, the suspect sped away. Officers pursued the vehicle north on 12th Street, during which, according to officers, the suspects threw evidence out of the vehicle.

The pursuit weaved through northern portions of Tell City before coming to an end on Main Street at the intersection with Mozart Street. Officers detained three suspects: the driver, Morris Miller, 25, of Charlotte, N.C.; passenger Jermario Baldwin, 26, of Charlotte, and Charles Miller, 32, of Knoxville, Tenn. Charles Miller was identified as the suspect who attempted to cash the fraudulent check.

As officers worked to detain the suspects, many citizens in nearby businesses ventured out to see what was occurring. During a Thursday meeting of the Perry County Recycling Management District, Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing expressed concerned that citizens were out close to a possibly dangerous situation.

Tell City Police Chief Greg Hendershot told the News Friday he was also concerned and reminded residents to exercise caution when these situations occur.

“A lot of people sometimes don’t see these things as serious events … but when people see police officers out of their cars with their weapons drawn, that is not the time to go out and look to see what is going on,” he said.

He advised residents and businesses to take security measures if a situation is occurring near their home or building, including taking cover and locking all doors.

Tell City officers said the items thrown from the vehicle during the chase were counterfeit payroll checks from businesses from inside and outside the Tell City area. The suspects had been successful in cashing similar checks in Breckinridge County, Ky., earlier Wednesday before traveling to Tell City. The TCPD contacted authorities in Kentucky after the suspects were in custody.

Malone stated in the release all three were lodged in the Perry County Jail on charges of resisting law enforcement, and multiple counts of counterfeiting, attempted theft and obstruction of justice for attempting to destroy evidence.

Assisting the TCPD were the Perry County Sheriff’s Department and the United States Secret Service.