Fake checks passed in Red Bay, Belmont; suspects sought

Thieves make off with close to $1,500 in Saturday scam; linked to Jan. incident

Security footage at Piggly Wiggly in Red Bay show the two suspects who cashed fraudulent payroll checks there Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy of the Red Bay Police Department

RED BAY | Police are piecing together details on two suspects who passed fraudulent payroll checks in Red Bay and Belmont this weekend totally almost $1,500.

Two men entered Piggly Wiggly in Belmont and later Piggly Wiggly in Red Bay Saturday afternoon and presented payroll checks which appeared to be written from Wood Industries and Gates Corporation. The unsuspecting clerks cashed those checks but later concerns arose about their legitimacy.

The fake Wood Industries check was cashed in Belmont; the Gates checks were cashed in Red Bay. The amounts of the checks ranged from $471 to $491. Following reports on TV news and on The Red Bay News’ website, authorities received tips that the suspects were seen in a maroon or burgundy SUV with possible gold trim and fender flares. Red Bay Police Chief Janna Jackson said her department had been reviewing security camera footage from Piggly Wiggly and other businesses to obtain more information.

The suspects used identical check and account numbers on two of the checks, with one cashed in Belmont and one in Red Bay. They also used the names of Oscar Walton May on two of the checks, giving a Red Bay address on one check and a Belmont address on the other. The name and address on the third check was Calvin Logan. All three checks were dated January 8, 2019. Authorities said they have no reason to believe any of the information on the checks is legitimate.

The suspects are believed to be involved in a similar incident on January 24 at a Piggly Wiggly store in Mathiston, Miss., a tiny rural town west of Starkville on Hwy. 82. There could also be connections to the suspects in North Alabama, although police were not able yet to confirm those details. It is not known if there are additional checks like this in circulation, but area stores and businesses that cash checks are advised to watch out for them.

The suspects are described as being one black male, possibly 5’10 to 6’0 feet tall, weighing 160 to 180 pounds, and one black male 5’10 – 6’0 feet tall and weighing more than 200 pounds. Both were wearing safety vests and one also appears in security footage to be wearing an Atlanta Braves cap.

Anyone who may have seen these two men or who have any information on the suspects is urged to contact the Red Bay Police Department at 256-356-4455.