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TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2007
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4 charged with trying to cash copied checks
Suspects flee after Athens grocery store employees become suspicious; large sum of money confiscated

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

ATHENS — After cashing close to 15 almost identical checks for between $400 and $425 each for a group of Hispanic men, L&S Foodland grocery store employees got suspicious and took a closer look at the checks.

Investigator Daniel McNatt of the Athens Police Department said the checks had the same check number on them and they appeared to have been photocopied.

When the North Jefferson Street store refused the next check Friday, the men ran out of the store.

Police officers caught three men, and an L&S employee identified a fourth suspect.

McNatt said only one of the men spoke English, and the man allegedly admitted to investigators that the group came from Atlanta to cash the fake checks.

Investigators confiscated a large sum of cash they believe came from those checks.

McNatt said the department charged three men from Atlanta — Osbaldo Lopez, 39, Windy Hills Road; Jose Mesa, 28, of Pisgah Road; and Pedro Mundo Cruz, 21, of Atlanta Street — and Mario Martinez Silva, 22, of 1740 Keaton in Marietta with first-degree theft by deception.

Police transferred the four to Limestone County, where they were released on $5,000 bond each.

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