Railway employees nab theft suspects
Suspects tied to local forgery ring
Two individuals, wanted for questioning in regard to a recent forgery case, were apprehended recently thanks to the diligence of Grand Canyon Railway employees. The employees observed an individual siphoning gas from a parked vehicle at the GCR RV Park, according to Williams Police Chief Herman Nixon. The employees, he said, called the Williams Police Department to report the crime. Rather than stop there, however, the employees went above and beyond their civic duties by apprehending the individuals and holding them until police could arrive.
Three of the employees - Wayne Rice, Frank Dowhan and Renee Wozniak - were recognized for their efforts during the recent regular meeting of the Williams City Council May 22.
"So many times you hear the police department say that we want you to be the eyes and ears of our police department and just not enough people call us when they see things," Nixon said. "It's always an hour later or three days later when they tell us and there's not much we can do after that. We have three individuals who went above and beyond that. They actually saw somebody stealing some gas out of a car at their place of employment and went out there and held those people for us until we got there."
Nixon said the people that were apprehended were being sought in connection with a recent rash of forgeries, mail theft and identity theft.
"Once at the scene, officers were able to start an investigation with two subjects committing a crime that first appeared to be nothing more than a misdemeanor," Nixon said. "As the details emerged it was apparent that these two individuals were with a group that had been involved with a continuing crime spree in our area."
Prior to the recent incident at the GCR RV Park, only some of the individuals for the rash of crimes were currently in custody, according to authorities. Nixon said the reporting of the crime resulted in the apprehension of two felony fugitives that have been sought in an ongoing investigation with the Williams Police Department and the United States Postal Service. He said the investigation turned up evidence of fraud, forgery and the illegal possession of a firearm.
The arrests came after the apprehension of Williams resident Michael Hamberger, 29, who was indicted by a Grand Jury on 11 counts of forgery, theft and the fraudulent use of a credit card March 20. Officials with the Williams Police Department determined that Hamberger stole numerous checks and a credit card during their lengthy investigation, totaling approximately $6,000. Other suspects were also recently apprehended in connection with the investigation, which included Michelle Lynn Pruett and Patrick Drew Anderson. Pruett was apprehended in Flagstaff, while Anderson turned himself in to Williams authorities.
Hamberger, according to officials with the Williams Police Department, was the only person to be brought up on local charges. The others were sought in relation to federal charges.
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