01/20/05 — Counterfeit operation discovered

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Counterfeit operation discovered

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 20, 2005 2:16 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Police say they have broken up a counterfeiting ring and that a suspect involved in it may have had a hand in robbing a Mexican restaurant earlier this month.

Mount Olive Police Lt. Tommy Brown said he received a call Friday from the Burger King about someone passing a fake $20 bill.

Brown said he contacted an informant and learned where the money might have been made. Police searched a house on McDonald Drive and said they found evidence that someone was trying to make a phony $5 bill. Brown said that when he had gone into the house the first time, a printer had been printing. One of the men present turned it off when the officers came into the house.

"We opened the scanner lid, and there was a $5 bill," said Brown, "and we opened the printer port and found a half of a bill."

After an investigation, Devoine Oscar Sutton, 18, was charged with forgery and placed under $2,500 bond.

While Brown was interviewing people at the scene, another officer arrested up a youth investigators say they believe took part in an armed robbery at a Mexican restaurant in town. Brown said police believe that Anthony Earl Rivers, 16, of South Center Street, was involved in the robbery, along with with Ezekiel Rashawn Simmons, 17, of South Chestnut Street.

Simmons, police say, was involved in both the robbery and the counterfeiting. He was charged with obtaining property under false pretense after he admitted he took the counterfeit bill to the Burger King andbought food with it, getting real money in change. He was also charged with armed robbery. Rivers was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon. He did not take part in the counterfeiting scheme, investigators said. Both Rivers and Simmons were placed in jail under $100,000 bond each.

Brown said police are still looking for two more people who are believed to have been involved in the restaurant robbery. They have been identified, and it's just a matter of finding them, Brown said.

"We also have leads to others who may be involved with the counterfeiting," he said.