2 men arrested for possession of counterfeit bills

By: 
Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Long

Heatherly

Salem Police Major Eric Mills responded to a call from the Dollar General Store on South Main Street after the store received two transactions with counterfeit bills, made by a woman named Margaret Lahaye.

He made contact with Lahaye, who met him at the Salem Police Department for an interview. She said Breraton Long, 26, Salem, owed her money and she took him to the Auto Zone parking lot to make an unknown transaction to get cash. She said Long provided her with counterfeit bills for payment she was owed, and then Long asked her to drive him around town to break the counterfeit bills down into smaller denominations. She said she went to Dollar General and passed one counterfeit bill, then to Walgreens to load money on a card per Long’s request, but Walgreens denied the bill. She then went back to Dollar General and made another transaction.

Police executed a search warrant on Long’s home on Florence Street, where they recovered about $7,400 in counterfeit $100 bills. Long admitted the counterfeit bills belonged to him and he had purchased them online. He was arrested and booked at the Washington County Detention Center.

The day before, Salem Police Sergeant James Moore was sent to Walgreens in reference to counterfeit money. He spoke with an employee, who said they noticed counterfeit money in the drawer when they were breaking the drawer down. They reviewed security footage to determine where the money came from, and showed the footage to Moore.

Moore said the footage showed a man, later identified as Kyle Heatherly, 23, Salem, trying to load money onto gift cards. Moore said the man looked very fidgety while waiting at the register. The cashier said Heatherly came in the first time and wanted to load the card with $120, and then again, wanting to load the card with $80.

The cashier told Moore the bills felt “funny and like stick paper,” so she she used the money check marker and the mark indicated counterfeit bills. She called the manager to check the money, and then the store trainer. The cashier said Heatherly then requested the money be returned to him and he would go to a different store. The cashier complied and he left.

After Moore retuned to the Salem Police Department, he noticed a vehicle on their surveillance camera heading north on High Street that matched the description of Heatherly’s vehicle from Walgreens. Moore followed the vehicle and found it at the Sunoco Station on Main Street.

He asked the driver, Heatherly, to step out of the vehicle and Heatherly consented to a search of his vehicle.

Another officer arrived, Mirandized and questioned Heatherly, who told officers he had been to Walgreens earlier that day, and that Long had asked him earlier that day if he wanted to make some money.

Heatherly said Long met him at Wendy’s and said Long told him he would put gas in his car and buy him some food if he would put money on a card for him.

Heatherly said he, Long, and another man drove to Walgreens, where he put $120 on a card. When he gave the card to Long, Long said he’d found more money and to go in and put it on a card. Heatherly said he tried to do so, and when the cashier told him he had counterfeit money, he looked out the window and saw his vehicle backing up. Heatherly asked for the money back and left.

Heatherly said he left and bought food before he took Long and the other man to a location on High Street and dropped them off. Heatherly said he still had the messages between him and Long on his phone, but when the police said they would be taking the phone into custody for evidence, Moore said Heatherly became loud and said he would show police the messages, but didn’t want his phone taken. He demanded his phone back.

Police told Heatherly he was under arrest and he tried to resist by pulling away and not letting Moore put handcuffs on him, but the officers eventually succeeded in handcuffing Heatherly.

Heatherly told police he would tell them the truth and he was taken to an interview room at the Salem Police Department. Moore said early on, he was very consistent with the account he gave at the gas station, but later began to get confused and changed the details of his story.

Heatherly told the officers he wasn’t told the money was counterfeit until he left the Walgreens store the second time.

Heatherly was also arrested for counterfeiting and booked in the Washington County Detention Center.

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