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The Waynesboro Police Department has charged three Florida men with fraud after they passed several forged checks at Target, 811 Town Center Drive in early February. Schawn Curtis Rivers, 27 years old; Joshua Samuel Knight, 22 years old; James Elbert Graden (pictured), 40 years old, all of Jacksonville, are part of a check forging ring that work in teams passing bogus checks at large retailers. The three men are part of a group of five that operated in Virginia but are part of a larger group that travel from New York to Florida committing the same type of offenses. The five men were apprehended in the Target near Front Royal by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on the same day they visited Targets in Waynesboro, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg.
On February 2 at approximately 3:40 PM, Graden, Knight and Rivers passed five forged checks and one American Express Travelers check using false identities to purchase $1,379 worth of pre-paid debit cards and some merchandise in Waynesboro. The men tried to use costumes or sunglasses to conceal their real identities from store surveillance systems. Graden used a female identity to make his transaction and wore woman’s clothing. When he was apprehended in Warren County later in the day, Graden was still in his costume and was not discovered to be a male until he was searched at the RSW (Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren) Regional Jail. Waynesboro Target’s loss prevention staff notified the Police Department on February 3 of the incident. Detectives have been working with the WCSO during the investigation.
The three suspects face the following charges:
Rivers – three counts of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses (two felonies, one misdemeanor)Knight – two counts of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses (both felonies)Graden – one count of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses (felony)
The three and their two accomplices, Charles Baker and Thomas Washington, face similar charges in several other Virginia jurisdictions.
They are being held without bond at RSW Regional Jail.