Secret Service agents recover computer linked to fake checks

January 22, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

U.S. Secret Service agents recovered a computer yesterday in Northeast Baltimore that allegedly was used to create counterfeit checks in a case that arose from a $1,383 shopping spree Tuesday at six Westminster stores.

A search warrant for a house in the 5000 block of Goodnow Road turned up the computer system and equipment for printing checks, a spokesman said.

In Westminster yesterday morning, District Judge JoAnn M. Ellinghaus-Jones reduced bail from $50,000 to $10,000 for the four Baltimore men charged in the case, who appeared in jail stripes without lawyers.

Assistant State's Attorney Brian L. DeLeonardo argued against reducing their bail, saying, "This is certainly beyond your normal bad-check writing. This is certainly an operation -- making the false checks, making the false identifications."

Westminster police arrested the four Tuesday night on 49 charges apiece, including multiple counts of counterfeiting, theft, passing bad checks and conspiracy. They are accused of using out-of-state counterfeit checks to pay for merchandise ranging from videocassette recorders to large collectible stuffed bears.

Detective Sgt. Wayne Mann said police sent a Teletype seeking similar incidents to neighboring states, while local banks also sent out a nationwide alert. The counterfeit checks were made up for phony bank accounts in Texas, Kansas and Florida, according to charging documents.

The checks and false identification did not result in losses to bank customers, police said.

Charged were: Eric Orlando Glaspie, 20, and Kevin Jermaine Byrd, 24, both of the 5000 block of Goodnow Road; Norman Moore, 35, of the 3000 block of Ridgewood Ave.; and Michael Antonio Branch, 32, of the 1500 block of Kennewick Road. Police were seeking a fifth suspect.

Pub Date: 1/22/99

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