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Weekend police: Counterfeit, swindle at Shopko, DUITell North Platte what you think
Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Aaron P. Thomas

A counterfeit $50 bill showed up in North Platte on Jan. 18, leading to the arrest of a North Platte man, Aaron Thomas.

Police spokesman John Deal said an officer went to Starting Gate Liquors to look into the complaint of counterfeiting. The store staff said a man paid for merchandise with a $50 bill on Jan. 13. When the bill reached the bank, bank officials called the liquor store. 

When investigators saw the bill, they connected it to the home of Jennifer Davis of North Platte, where two similar counterfeit $50 bills were found Dec. 28. All three bills had the same serial number, Deal said.

Police identified Thomas, 38, when they reviewed the surveillance video at the liquor store, Deal said. They found Thomas Friday in the 2000 block of West Fifth at the same home where the counterfeit bills were discovered Dec. 28.

That day, armed with a search warrant, police found a substance suspected to be methamphetamine, which was sent to the Nebraska Crime Lab for confirmation.

In addition to the suspected meth, they found several prescription pills, including Vyvanse, Diazepam, Clonazepam and Alprazolam, Deal said.

Jennifer Davis was charged that day with possession of a controlled substance (pills) as well as possession of a forged instrument – the counterfeit bills. 

The police reports did not say if Thomas was at Davis’s home on Dec. 28, but he was released from the Lincoln County jail that day, after serving a 90-day sentence for third-degree assault, according to sheriff’s records.

This time, Thomas is charged with first-degree forgery. Deal said he was also charged with theft on a previous warrant. However, sheriff’s records show he is also charged with contempt of court, not theft.

Thomas is held on a $25,000 bond.


Attempted Shopko swindle

At 2:36 p.m. Thursday, an officer went to Shopko to check out a reported theft. 

Loss prevention employees said they suspected a man took a vacuum off the shelf and took it to the service desk, pretending to be returning it. 

The store gave the man a gift card for the returned vacuum. He provided his driver's license for the return. The license identified him as Curtis Gillam. 

Surveillance footage verified that Gillam apparently entered the store that day empty handed, selected a vacuum and took it to customer service to "return it," Deal said.

Deal said police could identify the man in the video as Gillam. 

The vacuum was valued at approximately $200, which would normally be a misdemeanor. However, Gillam was charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor because of a prior theft conviction, which automatically enhanced the charge, Deal said.

Police found and arrested Gillam the next day at a home in the 2400 block of W. Sixth.


Drunk driving

At 9:11 p.m., Friday, officers went to the scene of a two-vehicle wreck on Newberry Road, about 1,000 feet north of the Halligan Drive intersection. 

Deal said a car and a minivan were traveling south on Newberry. The car rear-ended the mini-van that was going about 50 miles an hour.

The car, a white 2004 Chrysler Sebring, was driven by Christopher Mahaffey.

Mahaffey reportedly did not have his headlights turned on and he showed signs of intoxication, Deal said.

A preliminary breath test was administered, which showed his blood alcohol content was above the legal amount, according to the police report.

Mahaffey was charged with third offense driving under the influence. He was taken to jail, where bond was set at $50,000.

No one was injured in the wreck, but the mini-van sustained nearly $2,500 damage to its rear end, and the front end of the Sebring was damaged to the tune of $5,000, according to police.

Mahaffey was taken to jail, held on a $50,000 bond.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/23/2017
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