School Lockdowns Friday Result of Forged Check

No arrest has been made following Friday’s incident, but authorities say they have identified a suspect. Dallas Police say they have worked in recent weeks several cases involving forged checks.

Students at three Dallas schools had to wait a little bit longer before they were able to leave for the day on Friday as authorities pursued a man who allegedly tried to cash a forged check.

The chase led officials with Paulding County Schools, acting under the advisement of the Dallas Police Department, to postpone afternoon dismissal at three schools until the situation was resolved. Associate Superintendent Brian Otott said those schools were Dallas Elementary, Herschel Jones Middle and Paulding County High.

“As far as the students go, we don’t believe them to have been in any danger,” said Sgt. Bill Gorman of the Dallas Police Department, which is investigating the case and a few similar to it. “There wasn’t any indication that the guy was armed—just a guy trying to cash a counterfeit, forged check.”

Gorman, who spoke to Dallas-Hiram Patch on Monday, said the chase Friday happened after a man went into Georgia Heritage Bank in Dallas to cash a nearly $8,000 check that appeared to originate from a Paulding company. Bank officials told the man that they wanted to verify the check, and soon thereafter called police.

“[The company] banks there, and they already knew this was not going to be a legitimate transaction,” Gorman said.

As the man walked out of the bank, one Dallas officer walked in. Bank officials told the officer that he had just passed the man who had presented the check. A foot chase then ensued between the man and a second officer, and continued toward downtown Dallas, which led to authorities advising school leaders to take the precaution of locking down their campuses.

Though the suspect eluded capture, Gorman said investigators have secured a warrant for him based on security camera footage and the check being made out to him. He identified the man as 25-year-old Marlon Kirby from DeKalb County, a black male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 150 pounds with tattoos on neck and left and right hands.

Police Investigating Similar Incidents

Gorman said police have seen other forged checks come through the area in recent weeks.

 “It’s a big thing going on now. In the last probably two or three weeks, this makes about the fourth one I’ve dealt with personally,” he said. “They’re managing to get company checks and duplicate them, and they’re almost exactly like the company’s check, with the signature of the accounts payable person matching up perfectly.

“They’re coming out here with checks in the thousands of dollars and trying to cash them, or in one incident, they deposited a check for over $40,000, and at the bank opened up an account with it, and then they quickly went through $10,000.

“We have [incidents like these] spring up from time to time, and usually, the checks are in the amount of a paycheck for a person, $500 or $600, something like that,” Gorman added. “The ringleaders will go and pick up people at the homeless shelter or the crack neighborhoods in Fulton County or DeKalb County, and they bring them out here—because they have a legitimate ID—the checks are made payable to that person, and then that particular person usually gets arrested for cashing a counterfeit, forged check, and we very seldom ever get back to the main players in this thing. But this time around, all of the checks have been in the thousands of dollars.”

Gorman said authorities have identified suspects in three of four cases he’s worked in these recent weeks. One arrest has been made and two warrants have been issued thus far in those cases, he added.

“Fortunately, the banks around town, the ones I’ve been working with, have been questioning these checks and calling and verifying them, and it’s working out fine,” he said.

Before Friday’s incident, the checks were drawn out of businesses out of Florida, North Carolina, and other locations. Gorman said the latest incident was the first to feature a check made to look like one from a local business.

He said those involved could be stealing checks out of companies’ mailboxes, or could be working with someone that could take such material in a post office or bank environment.

Return to Dallas-Hiram Patch for updates.

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