Four women are facing forgery charges in Douglas County Court for their involvement in an alleged fake check-cashing scheme.
They were neither paychecks nor tax refunds, but three Topeka women and two Lawrence women wanted to cash them just the same.
After two photocopied State of Kansas checks were successfully passed Tuesday at local Dillon stores, the five women who allegedly handled the checks tried it again the next day.
Among the three Lawrence Dillon stores, a fax and phone call exchange headed them off Wednesday night before Lawrence police led them off to Douglas County Jail.
Police said the suspects were acquainted and apparently collaborated to cash the checks.
Arrested on forgery charges were Christine C. McCollough, 42, Marsha C. Luarks, 26, Mickey M. Brown, 28, all of Topeka, and Annetta D. Moten, 29, 1128 Conn., and Kelly D. Guliford, 27, 1132 Conn. Luarks is McCollough's daughter, police said.
Formal charges were not filed against Luarks, but were filed against McCollough, Brown, Moten and Guliford.
Managers of the Lawrence Dillon stores deferred comment to their personnel office in Hutchinson. Citing corporate policy, a Dillon spokesman also would not comment, except to say he had not yet been made aware of the incidents.
About 5 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to the Dillon store at 1740 Mass., where two women had reportedly attempted to pass a photocopied check, payable to McCollough and issued by the State of Kansas. A clerk called supervisors and stalled the suspect, who became angry and yelled at the clerk before walking out.
"She said she received a check in her mailbox in a plain white envelope," police spokeswoman Sgt. Susan Hadl said. "She said it had happened before."
Shortly after officers arrived, McCollough, Brown and Luarks were on their way to the Dillon's at 1015 W. 23rd.
Minutes later, a second report of forgery, at the 23rd Street location, came to police. Two women were also trying to pass a phony state check. Again a clerk called supervisors and stalled before the women became nervous and left.
At that point officers had a description of the suspect vehicle, and stopped the three women before they could leave the parking lot.
More than two and half hours later, police received a call that Moten was allegedly trying to cash a photocopied check at the Massachusetts location.
At 8:30 p.m., Guliford reportedly tried to cash a photocopied state check at the Dillon store at 3000 W. Sixth. Similar checks written to Guliford and Moten were cashed Tuesday night at the store on Sixth and the store on Massachusetts.
All three stores exchanged faxes of the checks Wednesday.
A clerk called supervisors and delayed the procedure to give police time to arrive. The woman, upset by the stall tactics, yelled and left store, police said.
Police caught Guliford and Moten at Ninth and Iowa. Hadl said officers found evidence in the car that linked the suspects and the crimes. She did not elaborate.
Guliford, Moten, McCollough and Brown had bonded out of Douglas County Jail Thursday to appear in court later this month.
According to police reports, Brown told Luarks and McCollough she would give them $150 each for cashing the checks. The individual check amounts were not released.