Man who eluded Carson deputies during two-hour chase arrested in Sparks

Christopher James Kelly, who eluded police for hours during a chase on C Hill a week ago, has been arrested in Sparks.

But he may have left a trail of forged checks in Carson City, according to Detective Paul Villa of the Reno Police Financial Crimes Division.

"It's an educated guess, but I think Carson City is about to get hit with a bunch of bad checks from this guy," he said.

Kelly allegedly passed a number of bad checks in the Reno area and police were on his trail when he moved to a motel in South Carson City. After he fled Thursday, Reno police got a search warrant to look at his Carson City motel room. Numerous printers were found there and he was printing checks for several Carson City businesses.

An increase in the number of forged checks has not yet materialized, according to Carson City Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Scott Burau.

According to Villa, Kelly is accused of being a check counterfeiter who uses a number of aliases. "It's only a matter of time before some of these outstanding checks come back forged. I don't want any of his buddies passing any more," he said.

People need to watch check identifications carefully and not just verify funds. Checks printed on Versa Check Mipps and Avery check stock, which is readily available at any office supply, should be scrutinized closely, Villa said.

Kelly was picked up by Sparks police at 1:22 p.m. Friday in the 2100 block of Victorian Avenue on a warrant from East Fork Tahoe Township Justice Court for failure to comply on a forgery charge, two counts of obstructing justice and not wearing a seat belt.

"We have him in custody on related charges while we conduct the investigation," Villa said. "But he will be charged with several counts of forgery in Reno."

Forgers commonly set up operations in a motel room as a matter of convenience, according to Villa. All they need is a computer, a printer for checks and a scanner to create realistic identification. When they acquire a legitimate check, the scanner can also be used to copy account numbers and business logos.

"Banks usually shred their material, so it's usually very difficult to get account numbers from their dumpsters," Villa said. "Most are retrieved during burglaries at businesses."

Once the checks are created, forgers generally give them to other individuals, who get a portion of the money after the transaction is completed.

"These people are usually fried on drugs and if they can do it, anyone can do it," he said. "It's so easy that these guys rarely print checks for more than $1,000. The sums usually vary, from $400 to $900. Why risk writing it for more and drawing attention to it?"

For the most part, these criminals concentrate on businesses, but in this case some of the account numbers did belong to residents, according to Villa.

"It beats robbing a bank," Villa said. "They can just sit in a motel room and hit 'Print.'"

Despite the efforts of Carson City police, Kelly avoided capture in Carson City Thursday during a chase that lasted hours.

Two Carson City detectives started watching the South Carson Street motel room Friday at the request of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. About 3 p.m., Kelly and an unidentified female left the parking lot of the motel in a 1994 Ford S10 pickup.

Officers followed the vehicle, which sped down Curry Street to the rear of the Railroad Museum. It then headed up the back side of C Hill. For about an hour, officers reported by radio the various locations of the truck, which was ultimately abandoned.

A police helicopter arrived on the scene at about 4:20 p.m. Kelly and his partner were last seen among the rocks on the north slope. The search was called off due to darkness at 5:30 p.m.


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