CPD: Men tried to cash fake checks

COVINGTON - Two Atlanta men were arrested by the Covington Police Department Thursday afternoon after they allegedly attempted to cash counterfeit checks at the Bank of North Georgia on U.S. Highway 278.

According to a CPD incident report, officers were notified that the pair was in the bank and demanding their IDs and the checks back after becoming aware tellers were stalling them. They left the bank before officers could arrive, but were shortly located nearby.

The report states the two walked into the bank and each presented Georgia drivers licenses and checks to separate tellers. The checks were drawn on the account of a local construction firm - one in the amount of $1,863.77 and the other for $1,968.30.

Both tellers told the men they had to verify the checks and when contact was made with the owner of the construction company, he told the bank he did not write the checks and they were counterfeit, the report states.

Arrested and charged with forgery were Barry Beal, 38, and Barry Wells, 41, both of whom gave Atlanta addresses. They said they had been dropped off at the bank for the transactions by a black male driving a burgundy Buick.

"I'm not sure that these men are homeless people or not, but typically we find someone in Atlanta gives these homeless men IDs and brings them down here to try and cash counterfeit checks," said CPD spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff. "They'll drop them off at different banks and come back around and pick them up. We've had this happen several times before."

In other crime news, two women were arrested and charged with shoplifting Sunday at the Covington Wal-Mart after they allegedly switched price tags on comforters, according to the Covington Police Department.

Shanelle Karimah Norman, 26, of Austell and Candace Nicole Farley, 32, of 35 Oakmont Lane were taken to Newton County Detention Center following the incident.

A CPD incident report states that when officers arrived a member of the store's loss prevention staff told them that he believed two women were attempting to run items through the self-checkout line with price tags on them that had been switched.

He said he observed one of the women ring up one comforter valued at $83.76 that contained two UPC numbers.

"Upon its price displaying on the register, Norman asked the cashier at the pay station to void the item off. Norman then removed another comforter and placed it off to the side of the register. (The loss prevention officer) stated he noticed the labels of the comforters with the UPC numbers had been switched and began surveillance," the report states.

The CPD officer was told that "Norman then took a third comforter (valued at $69.63) and scanned it with a label that displayed the price $18 (then) sat a fourth comforter next to the register, resulting in two pairs of comforters with their labels switched. Farley then handed Norman cash to pay for the comforters with the switched labels."

The women were detained and when they spoke with the CPD officer they maintained they never paid for the items, "so they were not shoplifting."

The officer explained that Wal-Mart had a receipt of the items that were voided and the ones that were paid for.

"I explained to Norman and Farley due to the circumstances they would be charged with shoplifting and Norman stated, 'So what if we switched the labels. I still didn't ring it up.' I then told Norman and Farley that switching labels is considered shoplifting as well," the incident report states.

According to Georgia Code, it is considered shoplifting if a person "alters a price tag or other price markings," or "interchanges a label or price tag with the label or price tag of another item of merchandise."

Farley was also charged with giving false information as she allegedly gave the officer a false name and date of birth during the arrest process.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.