Suspect accused of forging $10,000 in checks appears in court

A St. George Police Vehicle seen at the scene of an accident on S 200 East in St. George, Utah on January 29, 2020 | File photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A local man appeared in court facing forgery charges after police were called in to investigate a fraud case and allegedly determined the suspect forged more than 40 checks from a stolen checkbook.

Gentry Wiltshire, 32, of St. George, booking photo Feb. 22, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Gentry Wiltshire, 32, of St. George, appeared in 5th District Court Tuesday facing second-degree felony theft and five third-degree felony forgery charges filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office Monday.

The charges stem from an incident reported Friday when officers were dispatched to Wells Fargo Bank in St. George after a customer reported to bank personnel the discovery of 46 checks that were written out to the suspect after their checkbook went missing, according to charging documents filed with the court.

The woman told police she had never written any checks to the suspect and then provided copies of the checks that were collected as evidence while the investigation continued.

The following day, officers met with the suspect at his residence off of Nashua Road where Wiltshire allegedly confessed to stealing the checkbook and said he “wrote the checks to himself,” the officer noted in the statement.

Police also determined that the suspect cashed more than $10,000 in checks from the woman’s account.

At that point, Wiltshire was placed under arrest before being transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility where he was booked on the charges.

Gentry Wiltshire, 30, of St. George, booking photo Aug. 3, 2018 | File photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

This isn’t the defendant’s first brush with the law.

Wiltshire and another suspect were arrested in August 2018 after catching the attention of a police officer passing through a Santa Clara subdivision, according to court records.

The Santa Clara-Ivins Police officer, Jon Ward, was moving through the Bella Sol subdivision shortly after 1:30 a.m. when he saw a passenger vehicle enter the area and head toward the subdivision’s north end where homes were under construction. The officer pulled up behind the car that was parked in front of one of the homes under construction.

While getting a closer look at it, the officer noticed a man, later identified as Wiltshire, lying on the floorboard of the car, and sitting next to the vehicle, police found a light fixture box that matched the fixtures found inside the home. The second suspect was later found lying in the backyard of the home by police. Both were arrested and booked into jail on multiple offenses.

The case against Wiltshire was later dismissed after the defense filed a motion stating it should have never been bound over for trial due to a lack of evidence, including any evidence that Wiltshire ever entered the vacant residence or that he had any intention of stealing anything, claims the state objected to as both sides battled the issue through the courts.

In the end, the judge ordered that the charges be dismissed and the case was closed Dec. 21, 2018.

The defendant is scheduled to appear in 5th District Court for a roll call hearing on the current charges March 10 and remains in jail on $36,250 bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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