Originally created 11/21/02

Fake checks spur search by police



Richmond County investigators want to question two people about a series of counterfeit checks totaling about $4,000 that were given out at local businesses.

Joe Winfrey and Sabrena Walker, both of Augusta, are being sought by authorities for questioning in the passing of 10 phony checks at several locations, mainly liquor stores, Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Pat Stahler said.

The two are not charged with a crime and no warrants have been issued for their arrest, he said.

Several businesses notified police last week about counterfeit checks that began turning up this month, he said.

With these businesses, "it takes a couple of weeks to get the checks back from the bank, then they call to report it," Investigator Stahler said. "A lot of the times when we get the case, it happened two or three weeks ago."

The last known counterfeit check was cashed Monday for $306 at John's Party Center on Mike Padgett Highway, police said. The checks - between $300 and $400 each - are made to look like payroll checks for such businesses as Holiday Express and Yellow Freight Company, authorities said.

Investigator Stahler said in the incidents that a man has been giving store clerks a First Union account number that does not exist. A woman was seen with the man during a transaction in the first week of November at S & T Food Store on Mike Padgett Highway, he said.

Police tried to locate Mr. Winfrey on Wednesday at an apartment on Mount Auburn Street, but the residence was vacant, Investigator Stahler said.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr. Winfrey or Ms. Walker is asked to call Investigator Stahler at 821-1020.

Reach Albert Ross at (706) 823-3339 or albert.ross@augustachronicle.com.