On October 4, 2018, the Upper Providence Township Police Department began an investigation into a criminal network which had been utilizing counterfeit United States Currency, specifically one hundred dollar bills, to make small purchases, generally under $10.00 in value, at the Wawa store located at 1600 Egypt Road. As a result of these fraudulent transactions, various co-conspirators from the criminal network received merchandise and real United States Currency in return. The culminating event of this investigation occurred on October 23, 2018 when Upper Providence Police were dispatched to the store and advised that three male actors were attempting to use a counterfeit one hundred dollar bill. Two of these males, according to the complainant, had been involved in prior incidents involving the counterfeit bills. When the transactions were denied by store employees, the three males fled the scene in a black Cadillac SRX.
As an Upper Providence Police Detective, operating an unmarked police vehicle, arrived in the area, police were advised that a marked Lower Providence Township Police patrol unit was attempting to stop the Cadillac on the Route 422 Eastbound ramp. The Upper Providence Detective and Lower Providence patrol unit engaged the Cadillac and stopped it, approximately 1.5 miles from the Audubon exit. Three male co-conspirators, as well as a female co-conspirator and operator of the vehicle, were removed from the vehicle and taken into custody.
The three male co-conspirators, identified as Lawrence Jones, Calvin Allen and Calvin Gatewood, were arrested on scene. It was determined that Calvin Allen was the male who attempted to pass a counterfeit one hundred dollar bill at the Wawa on this date; however, Lawrence Jones and Calvin Gatewood were also found to be in possession of numerous counterfeit one hundred dollar bills. The female co-conspirator, identified as Lashonda Jones, was released from the scene; however, Upper Providence Police latter secured a warrant for her arrest. A search warrant was executed on the Cadillac which resulted in various evidence being obtained. This evidence assisted police in identifying the actors from prior incidents. A thorough post arrest investigation determined that Lawrence Jones, Lashonda Jones, Calvin Allen and a male identified as Muhammad Tinsley had been involved in numerous counterfeit bills incidents at the same Wawa store, as well as throughout Montgomery County.The incidents at the Wawa occurred on September 25th, 28th, and 30th, as well as on October 4th, 6th, 10th, 12th, and 23rd.
In total, police seized eight counterfeit one hundred dollar bills, arrested/charged four co-conspirators and secured an arrest warrant for a fifth co-conspirator.