4 California suspects arrested in Mesquite for passing string of fake $100 bills

File photo of Mesquite Police Department vehicle, Mesquite, Nev., Aug. 9, 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Four suspects from Southern California were arrested Saturday in Mesquite after police received multiple reports of counterfeit bills being passed at local stores and business throughout the area.

L-R: Robert Bates, 55; Isela Rojas, 40; Robert Gerlach, 53; and Nina Denise Sicuranzo, 36; all from California, booking photos taken in Clark County, Nev., April 18, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Mesquite Police Department, St. George News

According to a statement released Monday by the Mesquite Police Department, officers were dispatched to a grocery store Saturday shortly before 11 a.m. PST (12 p.m. MST) on a report of a counterfeit incident after store employees reported that two suspects attempted to purchase items using counterfeit $100 bills.

Responding officers located the two suspects before they were able to leave the parking lot and found that both had multiple counterfeit bills in their possession, the statement said.

Authorities say there was already an ongoing investigation set in motion when a series of counterfeit reports were received by law enforcement prior to Saturday’s incident, and police determined the suspects located at the grocery store were attempting to use the fake bills to make purchases at various businesses, both in Mesquite and at stores in the surrounding area.

Detectives determined that two additional suspects were allegedly involved in the string of incidents with the two taken into custody at the grocery store, but with only two in custody, they continued reviewing surveillance footage and traffic cameras and canvasing multiple areas in Mesquite in search of the two other suspects.

Mesquite Police Sgt. Wyatt Oliver told St. George News that several hours later, an officer spotted an unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot of another grocery store in Mesquite that matched the one the other suspects were reportedly driving.

The officer waited until both suspects exited the store and then questioned the pair and later taken into custody.

All four suspects were from California and were identified as 55-year-old Robert William Gerlach, of Covina; Isela Rojas, 40, of Monterey Park; Robert William Bates, 53, of Upland; and 36-year-old Nina Denise Sicuranzo, of Rancho Cucamonga. Each faces one felony count of possession with the intent to utter a fictitious bill and a felony burglary charge.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing as Mesquite detectives continue to work with surrounding law enforcement agencies to determine the scope of the suspects’ possible involvement in other counterfeiting crimes reported in the area, Oliver said.

Due to the felony charges, all four suspects were transported to Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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

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