Forgery suspects try to escape
By 08/21/2003 00:00:00
Ferris Police arrest 4 after car chase ends
The Ellis County Press
FERRIS - A Ferris police chase ended on Mars Road last Friday after four Dallas-area adults, accused of cashing bogus checks at a local store, fled from the downtown area.
Cash and Mail Emporium co-owner Teresa Schiffer pointed out the group to officers in front of city hall.
Officers pursued the group as they fled in a late-model burgundy Cadillac, chasing them up Central Avenue and arresting them in front of a residence in the 1000 block of Mars Road.
'As they were fleeing the scene, they were throwing (torn) documents and checks from the car,' said Ferris Police Chief Jeff Cottongame.
Schiffer said the two men had entered the store about 3:45 p.m. asking to cash some payroll checks.
For security reasons, owners Melanie Queen and Schiffer keep a hidden videotape on the vault where customer's pay their bills and cash their checks.
The videotape shows the young men at the vault window cashing payroll checks. A few minutes later, a young woman also approached the window to cash a payroll check.
Each check were more than $600, but at the time, the owners said they did not know the young men and young lady were together.
Schiffer said, because they were so busy at the time, she did not notice the checks were bogus.
About 5 p.m., one of the young men entered the store again, this time to cash another check.
Queen said the man slid the check under the glass partition, telling her it was a 'bonus check.'
'I was already suspicious,' Queen said.
'I started looking at the other checks and noticed the checks were wrote out to the same person, with identical check numbers and for the same amount.'
She said she also noticed the word department was misspelled and read 'deparyment' on the check.
The suspect fled out the door shortly after Queen called the bank and verified it was an invalid account.
She called 911 and Schiffer followed them and when officers arrived, she yelled 'Hey!' at one of the men and the suspect jumped into the Cadillac.
Another woman was driving the 'getaway car' and all four were arrested and arranged in Justice of the Peace Court Precinct 1 by Judge Bill Woody on charges of forgery Tuesday morning.
Clarence Wilson, 21; Byron Coleman, 25; Tiffany Sanders, 25; and LaTasha Meyers,19, were held in the Wayne McCullum Detention Center in Waxahachie on $100,000 bond each.
Chris Pearson, a Ferris Police Department detective, said he is working on piecing together the documents and checks that were thrown out of the vehicle as the suspects fled.
'We believe they have been passing checks in Dallas County,' said Pearson.
But he noted law enforcement officials are considering charging the suspects with engaging in criminal activity or organized crime, because there were more than three people involved.
Queen and Schiffer said they would press charges.