Thursday, May 23 2013 12:25 PM EDT2013-05-23 16:25:08 GMT
Army Specialist Ciara Smith surprised her son Devin Lewis and her mother Carla Williams today at Devin's Kindergarten graduation at Harper Elementary School in Thomasville. Smith just returned from herMore >>
Army Specialist Ciara Smith surprised her son Devin Lewis and her mother Carla Williams today at Devin's Kindergarten graduation at Harper Elementary School in Thomasville. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:57 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:57:54 GMT
Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society Volunteer Lacey Williams and WALB's Stephen Abel drew the winning raffle ticket late Wednesday afternoon for a $100 gas card donated by Harold Jackson and PetroleumMore >>
A group of volunteers raised a total of $640 by selling the raffle tickets. The money will be used to fight animal cruelty through education and awareness.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:01 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:01:10 GMT
Albany Engineer K. Bruce Maples, P. E. announced some road closures Thursday morning. Beginning at 6:00 A.M., Saturday, May 25, 2013, the following streets will be closed for the Spring Fest and SBMore >>
Albany Engineer K. Bruce Maples, announced some road closures beginning at 6:00 A.M., Saturday, May 25, 2013, in downtown Albany.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:00 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:00:09 GMT
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Labor announced today that metro Albany's unemployment rate declined to 8.6 percent in April, down three-tenths of a percentage point from 8.9 percent in March. TheMore >>
The unemployment rate in the Southwest Georgia region declined to 8.2 percent in April, down two-tenths of a percentage point from 8.4 percent in March. The rate was 8.8 percent in April a year ago.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 7:30 AM EDT2013-05-23 11:30:38 GMT
Dougherty County Police believe a pair of convenience store smash and grabs may be the work of the same two men. The first smash and grab happened around 2:20 am at the Pit Stop convenience store atMore >>
Dougherty County Police believe two men are behind a smash and grab and a break in at two convenience stores within four miles of each other.More >>
What investigators call a sophisticated counterfeit check cashing ring hit banks and business in Valdosta, Tifton, and Albany Wednesday. An alert teller finally stopped them.
Now Investigators across South Georgia are trying to find the ring leaders.
The counterfeiting ring used homeless men from Valdosta to cash their phony checks across South Georgia until one of them was arrested at an East Albany bank. A teller who spotted one of the phony checks, alerted an off duty Dougherty County Sheriff's Deputy, working security at the bank, who nabbed him.
34 year old Steven Smith was arrested at the Heritage Bank in East Albany about 3 Wednesday afternoon, trying to cash this counterfeit check for more than 19 hundred dollars. Smith told Investigators he and three other homeless men were hired at the Salvation Army soup kitchen by the ring.
Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigator Craig Dodd said "Offered money to go cash these checks. They started out in Valdosta, and went to Tifton from there on 75. Then came over to Albany."
Smith told Investigators that two men, one called "dirty red" and the other called "Freddy" drove them to banks and check cashing businesses in a gray four door Pontiac Grand Am with a Georgia educator tag. The men were printing checks from local businesses on a computer printer while they traveled.
Dodd said "They already had basically cased the locations. They already had logos and everything from the locations they were going to."
Two women driving a tan colored Toyota Corolla stood by as lookouts. At the East Albany Heritage Bank, a man named Freddy Collins cashed a check for more than 18 hundred dollars, but the teller spotted it as counterfeit after it was cashed. As bank officials discussed it, Smith walked in and tried to cash an almost identical check. Tellers had a deputy in the bank arrest him, which led to the discovery of the ring's operations. Similar checks had already been cashed at Heritage's downtown branch.
Dodd said "They can knock out 40-to 50 thousand dollars a day doing this."
The homeless men were told to drop the cash and pick up more checks at the trash can behind the Taco Bell across East Oglethorpe. One of the women was watching from the Burger King. Investigators say the ring was using walkie talkie phones for communication.
Investigators say they are not sure how many businesses and banks were hit by the ring Wednesday. They use homeless men, willing to use their real name and ID's to cash the checks, not realizing they will take the fall, while the counterfeiters disappear with the cash. Smith told Investigators he would be paid 50 bucks for cashing the phony checks.
Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators are working with investigators in Valdosta and Tifton.
They want businesses that may have cashed the checks yesterday, or anyone with information, to contact them.
Call Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators at 431-3222.
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