Washington City Police arrest man on fraud charges after he returns to alleged crime scene

Stock image, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Officers responding to a call in Washington City on Wednesday allegedly found forgery equipment inside a suspect’s vehicle after he returned to the same store where police say he passed nearly $400 worth of fraudulent checks the day before.

Nicholas Adam Potterson, 34, of Hurricane appeared in 5th District Court Friday on multiple charges stemming from an investigation into alleged fraud at a shoe store on Telegraph Street.

Shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, officers arrived at the store and spoke to the manager, who reported that a customer paid for merchandise using three checks with a combined value of more than $390 that turned out to be fake, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Potterson’s arrest.

The manager told police the suspect wrote the checks during two separate visits to the store Tuesday, once at about 4 p.m. and then again just before the store closed.

Hours after the fraudulent checks were reported on Wednesday, officers were again dispatched to the business when the suspect was reportedly spotted in the parking lot outside of the store. After reviewing surveillance footage, officers noted in the arrest statement that the suspect “was the same male with the shaved head and clumps of hair on each side resembling horns.”

Nicholas Potterton, 35, of Hurricane, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jul. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Potterson was standing next to a red SUV in the parking lot when police approached him. He reportedly told them he didn’t have any identification on him when asked, at which time he was detained. During a search, police found a bank card in his possession with his name imprinted on it. Potterton was then Mirandized and told he was the suspect in a fraud case.

Officers then searched the red SUV the suspect was seen standing next to, in which they found additional “fraudulent documents,” according to the statement, including a check with a different individual’s name on it that was made out to a department store in St. George, as well as three checks with the name of a business imprinted on them.

Investigators also allegedly found packs of blank checks and three copies of a Utah driver’s license with a picture of the suspect that officers later found on an identification card issued out of California. According to court records, the state-issued I.D. card was inserted into a magnetic card reader/writer that the arresting officer said is “used consistently with fraud.” Officers also allegedly found a syringe containing a brown liquid that appeared to be consistent with heroin.

Potterton was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility. He was charged with three second-degree felony counts of producing or transferring any false identification document and eight third-degree felony charges, including seven counts of forgery and one count of possessing a forgery/writing device. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession or use of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams said the suspect appeared to be well-versed in identity theft.

“It is very likely there would have been more victims had he not been arrested,” Williams said, adding that the suspect had a hand in his own arrest by “returning to the scene of the crime.”

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!