ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) – A 61-year-old man and his 21-year-old wife, both of Gheen, Minn., were arrested for purchasing nearly $25,000 in jewelry from an Anoka jeweler on layaway with a fraudulent money order, authorities say.
Thomas Alan Friend was charged with check forgery and attempted theft by swindle, and Christine Friend was charged with offering a forged check and attempted theft by swindle, according to a criminal complaint filed in Anoka County.
The complaint states that on Oct. 29 at Gould’s Jewelry in Anoka, the couple from northeast Minnesota picked out a $4,500 tennis bracelet, a $3,000 bracelet, an engagement ring band worth $6,000, and diamond hoop earrings valued at $4,100, in addition to a diamond costing $5,000. The total was $22,600 before taxes.
Christine Friend presented the money order, asking if they could buy the items on layaway. Gould’s Jewelry presented the money order to the bank and the bank advised that it was fraudulent. The money order had made up numbers where the routing number and bank account number commonly appear.
Gould’s Jewelry called the police and at 4:13 p.m., when the couple returned, police arrested them. Christine Friend admitted they didn’t have enough in the bank account to cover the $24,210 in purchases.
Police found a Heweltt Packard inkjet printer visible in the couple’s car and Christine Friend said that the check was created on a laptop in the vehicle.