Grand Junction police arrested two Rifle residents last week on suspicion of counterfeiting. Jeremiah Michaelis, 23, and Tia House, 34, were taken into custody on March 25. Officers responded when Michaelis reportedly attempted to pass fake $100 bills at two establishments — a convenience store and a liquor store — on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction. Based on video surveillance and descriptions, they determined that the incidents might be related. He also fit the description of a man who an area panhandler said gave him a fake $100 earlier that day.
Acting on a tip from a store employee, police were able to trace Michaelis back to a nearby hotel. They learned that a couple had checked in the day before with another $100 bill. They contacted Michaelis who, according to a press release from the Grand Junction Police Department, “began acting nervous while speaking with the officers.” A search warrant reportedly yielded evidence of counterfeit money manufacturing including computers, printers, chemicals, cutting devices and numerous copies of $100 bills. The pair were arrested on suspicion of forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal possession of forgery devices.
Michaelis was previously booked at the Garfield County Jail on March 11 and released March 19 on bond. He was also arrested for alleged criminal possession of a forged instrument in early February, as part of a counterfeiting investigation by Rifle Police. Also implicated at the time were Joshua Michaelis, 33, for forgery, identity theft and theft, and April Hanes, 36, on suspicion of forgery. Prior to February’s arrest, officers took at least a dozen reports of counterfeit bills either used or attempted to be used in the area, according Rifle Police Chief John Dyer.