Originally created 06/14/06

Police accuse man of forging checks



A North Augusta man remained in jail Tuesday after being accused of stealing checks and using an alias to forge a name while illegally cashing nearly $3,000 in checks, police said.

Tony Anthony Johnson, 38, of Sikes Drive, is accused of stealing several checks from the home of James Thomas Jr., 50, of Amli Way, and cashing them at grocery stores and a check-cashing business, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Anita Hopson.

On April 20, Mr. Thomas filed a police report after realizing a significant amount of money had been withdrawn from his Georgia Bank and Trust account, Investigator Hopson said.

Mr. Thomas told police he believed the checks were stolen from his bedroom.

However, his teenage daughter said no one had entered their home without permission, Investigator Hopson said.

Mr. Johnson is a cousin of the girl's boyfriend, the investigator said.

Between March 23 and April 13, Mr. Johnson cashed checks at Bi-Lo and Kroger grocery stores and Ace America's Cash Express in the 3200 block of Wrightsboro Road.

He cashed nearly $2,000 worth of checks at the Ace location, Investigator Hopson said.

Mr. Johnson provided photo identification to store clerks that identified him as Brian McNeil, police said.

"He was captured after Mr. Thomas' daughter and her boyfriend reviewed a surveillance photo from Ace America and identified Brian McNeil as really being Mr. Johnson," Investigator Hopson said.

After turning himself in to authorities Monday, Mr. Johnson was booked into the Richmond County jail without bond.

He faces four counts of felony forgery, a jail official said Tuesday night.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.