Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Joshua N. Murphy
Police arrested a Colorado man Tuesday who they believe was a key figure in distributing counterfeit $50 bills around North Platte.Joshua Murphy, 39, allegedly tried to pass a phony $50 bill on Dec. 8 at Little Ceasar’s Pizza, but police were unable to find him until Tuesday morning.
Police spokesman John Deal late that morning, an officer saw Murphy near Philip and Poplar, driving a silver 1997 Chrysler LHS.
When police tried to pull Murphy over, he sped up. He ran the stop sign at Poplar and Francis, pulled into the Allo parking lot, and took off north on foot. The officer followed in his cruiser and got in front of Murphy in the parking lot of South Platte Terrace. Deal said Murphy gave himself up at that point.
He was arrested without further incident for forgery, flight to avoid arrest, driving without a Nebraska operator's license as well as unspecified charges in Colorado.
Deal said the case began at 12:50 p.m. on Dec. 8, when Little Caesar's Pizza reported a counterfeit $50 bill being passed. The store said a man and woman pulled up to the drive-thru window and paid with a $50, but the clerk took a closer look when making change and returned the bill to the man and woman. The couple paid with real money and left, Deal said. Police were told the woman was driving but the man pulled out the $50.
During the same time, other reports were arriving at police headquarters about counterfeit $50 bills. Deal said investigators were able to identify some suspects, and as a result of interviews, Murphy emerged as the prime suspect at Little Ceasar’s.
Murphy could not be found at the time, so a warrant was issued, charging him with first-degree forgery.
Murphy is now in the Lincoln County jail, held on bonds totaling $63,000.
Deal said no more counterfeit bills have been reported in North Platte since Jan. 13, but he encourages businesses to be watchful and to contact law enforcement if they suspect one has been passed or attempted to be passed.