Somerset police tracking down counterfeit check suspects

SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - Police say the man they arrested Friday night tried to pass fake $50 traveler's checks at as many as three businesses in the Grand Central Shopping Center. They say others could be involved.

People working inside the Somerset Goody’s had already been told to be on the lookout for a man passing counterfeit traveler’s checks because the store fell victim just last month. On Friday night, the man returned and employees called police. John Newland was arrested at a nearby store.

“He in fact had several of the traveler’s checks still in his possession when he made contact with him,” said Lt. Shannon Smith with Somerset Police.

The question now for police is who else is working with him and what other areas he has targeted.

“He may be responsible for passing checks in other jurisdictions and we’re in contact with other law enforcement agencies in central Kentucky,” said Smith.

Victims tell us that Newland tried to buy a small item with a $50 check, so he would receive a lot of real money back. Sometimes the transaction was stopped at the store, sometimes it wasn’t discovered until the fake bill got to the bank.

"When they find something that comes through that doesn’t look or feel right, they can spot it pretty quickly,” said Smith.

Newland is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and lodged in jail, but he has already been released. Right now, police are looking for the female accomplice they believe was with him.

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