The Grand Junction Police Department arrested two people on Tuesday who are suspected of making counterfeit $100 bills in a local hotel room. Twenty-three-year-old Jeremiah Michaelis and 34-year-old Tia House are both facing forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument charges, among others.
The investigation of these two suspects began when an officer was dispatched to a liquor store on Horizon Dr for a report of a man that had just tried to use a counterfeit $100 bill to make a purchase. While the officer was on her way there, a man who was on Horizon Dr. flagged her down and said he had been given a fake $100 bill while he was panhandling near I-70. The man who gave him the bill matched the same description of the man who tried to make the purchase at the liquor store.
While this was going on, another officer was speaking with staff at convenience store on Horizon Dr, where an employee reported that a man tried to make a purchase there, also with a fake $100 bill. That person also matched the description of the man from the liquor store. The employee told the officer that she saw a hotel key in the suspect’s wallet from the hotel across the street from the store.
Investigators went to that hotel and spoke with the clerk who provided them with the room number of a couple who had checked in the day before using a $100 bill. When officers knocked on that door, Michaelis answered and began acting nervous while speaking with the officers. Based on the video surveillance from the liquor store, officers believed Michaelis was the person who attempted to use the counterfeit bill. Officers arrested him, and found the hotel key in his wallet like the clerk at the convenience store described.
While officers were arresting Michaelis, they also detained House and did a protective sweep of the room to make sure there were no other people in there. Officers then obtained a search warrant and found evidence of counterfeit money manufacturing including computers, printers, chemicals, cutting devices and numerous copies of $100 bills. Based on the evidence, officers also arrested House.