RIFLE — Three Rifle residents were arrested Wednesday in connection with a city-wide series of counterfeiting incidents at city businesses since August, according to police.
Between Feb. 3 and 5, Rifle police officers and the Secret Service served two search warrants and made the three arrests.
Chief John Dyer said officers had taken 12 reports of counterfeit bills either used or attempted to be used at Rifle businesses during the past six months.
Joshua Michealis, 33, was arrested on suspicion of forgery, identity theft and theft.
Dyer said the identity theft charge stems from a separate case investigators solved during the counterfeiting investigation.
Jeremiah Michealis, 23, was arrested on suspicion of criminal possession of a forged instrument and April Hanes, 36, was arrested on suspicion of forgery, Dyer wrote in a news release.
“They had been making counterfeit bills and we were able to tie them to several of our cases, but not all of them at this point,” Dyer said in a brief interview.
All three Rifle residents were booked into the Garfield County Jail in Glenwood Springs. The Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s office will determine what charges the three could face.
Dyer added that counterfeiting reports were received by other law enforcement agencies up and down the Colorado and Roaring Fork River valleys, but he could not say these three suspects were involved.
Dyer said Secret Service agents distributed fliers and visited many businesses, including all the city’s gas stations, to help clerks know what to look for if a bill looks suspicious.