The Smithville Police Department has apparently solved a forgery scheme with the arrest of three people.
Chief Randy Caplinger reports that 22 year old Brittney D. Barnes, 44 year old Mary J. Robb, and 40 year old Randy Caldwell have each been charged with theft under $500. Robb is also charged with forgery.
According to Detective Matt Holmes, Barnes stole a book of blank checks from her great grandmother's home on December 29th at 713 Cill Street and gave it to Caldwell, who in turn handed it over to Robb.
Robb allegedly signed the name of Barnes' great grandmother to at least twenty of the checks and then passed them for more than $4,300 worth of merchandise at stores in several different towns, using a fake drivers license number. According to Detective Holmes, the way Robb conducted the scheme was that she would go into a Wal-mart, for example, and pass a forged check for merchandise. Then she would leave the store and go to a Wal-mart in another town and return most of the merchandise for a refund.
In addition to Wal-mart, Robb is accused of passing the checks at places like Walgreens, Lowe's and Publix, among others in several mid-state towns including Smithville, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Manchester, Crossville, Sparta, and Cookeville. As a result, other law enforcement agencies may also bring charges against Robb
On Thursday, January 6th, after reviewing surveillance footage of the forgery at the Wal-mart in Smithville, Detective Holmes said he saw a woman as he was leaving the store, who matched the characteristics of the female on the video. She got in a vehicle which left the parking lot, heading south on Anthony Avenue. "I followed the vehicle and it turned around and headed back to Wal-mart. I ran the tag through central dispatch and stopped the automobile and spoke to the woman, Robb, who was a passenger. She told me that she had been in Wal-mart and that she passed checks belonging to someone else. She was arrested and taken to the Smithville Police Department. After admitting to forging a name on about 20 checks, Robb was charged with forgery and theft under $500."
After questioning Robb on Thursday, January 6th, Detective Holmes said he saw Caldwell coming out of the courthouse the same day and picked him up for questioning. Caldwell was subsequently charged in the case.
Detective Holmes said that on January 6th, he reviewed surveillance footage at the Smithville Police Department taken from the Sparta Walgreen store, which showed Robb and Caldwell in possession of the stolen checks. According to Detective Holmes, Caldwell benefitted from the forgery transaction by taking the merchandise and leaving the store.
Barnes was picked up by police the following day on Friday, January 7th at her great grandmother's home and charged in the case.
Meanwhile, in a separate investigation, a 28 year old Smithville woman has been charged with aggravated child abuse after allegedly allowing her 12 year old daughter to smoke marijuana.
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said Stephanie Fagan is under a $3,500 bond and she will appear in court on January 27th.
According to Detective Matt Holmes, he met Fagan at 829 Gentry Avenue on Wednesday, January 12th while conducting a follow-up investigation on an offense report. She was then transported to the Smithville Police Department for questioning. Fagan allegedly admitted that a few weeks ago she was at her residence with an adult male and that he talked Fagan into allowing the12 year old daughter to smoke a marijuana cigarette with her
Fagan was arrested and charged and the child was removed from her custody by the Department of Children's Services.