Last updated: July 14. 2014 12:05AM - 715 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

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Three more members of a counterfeiting ring that allegedly struck Mount Airy nearly two weeks ago have been apprehended, according to a city detective.

Their arrests occurred in Ware County, Ga., on Tuesday, Sgt. Brad Quesinberry said.

This brings to five the total number of those implicated in a scheme that involved the circulation of bogus $100 bills in Mount Airy and other jurisdictions, with one of the suspects still at large, Quesinberry reported.

They include Ebonee Andra Saymon Middleton, 21, of Charleston, S.C., who was arrested in Mount Airy on numerous felony charges on June 29 after counterfeit money was passed at Kentucky Fried Chicken on Rockford Street.

Those nabbed in Georgia included Angelica Estelle McDowell, 41, of Atlanta; Joe Lewis Peterson Jr., 57, of Hampton, Ga.; and Brittanie Nicole Johnson, 32, of Atlanta. Each is charged with possession of counterfeit U.S. currency. They are being held in the Ware County Jail without privilege of bond.

Middleton, meanwhile, was confined in the Surry County Jail Friday under a $60,000 secured bond, a jail spokesperson said. She is accused of multiple counts of possession of five or more counterfeit instruments, obtaining property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, along with one count of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, court records show.

The fourth suspect who has not been arrested has been identified as Tierra Denise Calvary, 32, also of Charleston, S.C.

Middleton was among the group of people who allegedly circulated fake $100 bills at Mount Airy businesses on June 29, which included Food Lion on South Andy Griffith Parkway and Dollar General on Rockford Street in addition to KFC.

Along with arresting Middleton, city police recovered about 25 of the counterfeit bills linked to the crimes.

“These subjects are suspected of being part of a counterfeit operation in which they have passed counterfeit money here in Mount Airy and have been as far as Florida,” Quesinberry added of the findings of an ongoing investigation.

“This has been a joint operation involving multiple jurisdictions.”

The counterfeiting ring also has struck in Winston-Salem and Pilot Mountain and in Hillsville Virginia., where suspects matching the description of those operating in Mount Airy passed bogus $100 bills at a Dollar General store.

In the Virginia incident on June 29, two black females and two people thought to be black males dressed as females were identified as suspects. They were driving three different vehicles, including one with a Georgia tag and a Jeep Compass matching the description of one Middleton was using when arrested here the same day.

Sgt. Quesinberry said the act of dressing as a woman, employed by the apparent lone male member arrested as part of the group, was apparently a tactic used by the gang.

He said those arrested in Georgia this week will face local charges at some point.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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