‘Movie money’ used in 4-wheeler thefts

Published 12:06 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

RESERVE — Two Reserve men were arrested for their connection to fraudulent money transactions and the theft of two 4-wheelers, authorities said.

St. John the Baptist Parish deputies first responded Jan. 15 to a theft call. At 6:54 p.m., a victim told deputies he advertised a gaming system and games for sale on an Internet site — authorities are not releasing which one — and agreed to meet a potential purchaser in a LaPlace parking lot.

Collis Holloway Jr.

Collis Holloway Jr.

After the meeting, the victim noticed the currency the purchaser gave him was labeled “not legal tender, for motion picture use only, movie money.”

That same day deputies were alerted to another theft report at 8:07 p.m. in which a 4-wheeler was stolen.

Deputies responded to Regala Park in Reserve where the victim told authorities, much like the theft before, he made a post on an Internet site and agreed to meet with a potential purchaser. The victim and purchaser met at the park to inspect and test-drive the 4-wheeler.

During the test drive, the purchaser fled on the 4-wheeler, and the driver of the car that the potential purchaser arrived in followed him.

The third report of theft, just days later, also involved a 4-wheeler.

Deputies responded at 9:44 p.m. Jan. 19 to the fire station on Central Avenue in Reserve.

The third victim posted on an Internet site about the sale of his 4-wheeler. The victim agreed to meet with the purchaser at Regala Park. The purchaser arrived with a second person in the car.

Roland Ketchens Jr.

Roland Ketchens Jr.

After receiving an envelope containing money in exchange for the key to the 4-wheeler for the test drive, the victim became suspicious the money was counterfeit when he felt the texture of the bills.

The victim chased the 4-wheeler south on Airline Highway down Central Avenue before losing sight of it near the fire station.

The bills were labeled “not legal tender, for motion picture use only, movie money.”

Authorities said in all three cases, the thief arrived to the locations in a red Chevrolet Camaro. Deputies canvassed the area in Reserve, located a car matching the description in the 400 block of NW 3rd Street and found the two previously mentioned 4-wheelers that were reported stolen.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said detectives located and detained four men at the apartment where the car was parked and found the 4-wheelers and gaming system.

Over the course of the investigation, detectives arrested Collis Holloway Jr., 23, and Roland Ketchens Jr., 23, both of Reserve.

Sgt. Dane Clement said Holloway was booked Jan. 20 with illegal possession of stolen things.

He remains in custody in lieu of a $7,500 bond and a probation/parole detainer.

Ketchens was arrested Jan. 21 and booked him with illegal possession of stolen things. He was released Jan. 22 on a $15,000 bond.

The other two men detained at the scene are not facing charges at this time and no other arrests have been made, Clement said.

Authorities said the suspects traded $300 worth of fraudulent money for the game system and games and $3,500 worth of fraudulent money for the second 4-wheeler.

Clement said detectives don’t know where the suspects got the money from and are investigating they were working alone or were part of a larger organization.

Clement said something similar happened recently in St. Charles Parish and authorities are investigating if the incidents are connected.

“We are asking everybody to be on the look out and be aware of that type of money going around,” Clement said. “We are continuing the investigation to try to bring it to a resolve. We are investigating the thefts. The money isn’t illegal, but it’s illegal to use it in a fraudulent manner.”