ELIZABETHTON — A man who was arrested last week by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department after 20 counterfeit $100 bills were allegedly found in his possession had his first appearance in court on Wednesday. All 20 reportedly had the same serial number. Meanwhile, other counterfeit $100 bills and smaller denominations have been passed at stores in Elizabethton and the county, according to police.
Carl Gregory Bishop, 26, 222 Painter Creek Road, Chuckey, was charged with 20 counts of criminal simulation following a raid at 106 Hidden Cove Lane in Stoney Creek on Dec. 21. In his initial appearance in Sessions Court on Wednesday, Judge John Walton appointed a public defender and continued the case until Jan. 13. Bishop is also facing a charge of theft over $1,000 stemming from a 1985 Chevrolet pickup truck which had been reported stolen out of Buncombe County, N.C., on Dec. 19.
Also making his first appearance in court on Wednesday was Christopher Harold Gibbs, 26, 8041 Highway 19E, Roan Mountain. He was stopped a short distance from the sight of the raid by Carter County deputies and was reportedly found in possession of 59 small green pills in an unlabeled bottle. Gibbs told officers the pills were Klonopin. He was charged with possession of schedule IV drug for resale. He was also served with an outstanding warrant charging him with failure to appear and violation of probation. On Wednesday, Walton appointed a public defender for Gibbs and ordered him to serve 10 days in jail on a contempt charge. His next appearance in court is Jan. 13.
Since the arrests, there have been at least one $100 counterfeit bill passed in the county and two in the city, according to police.
The day following the raid, Deputy Mike Carlock reported a counterfeit $100 bill had been taken at Big Red’s Produce, in Stoney Creek. Carl “Red” Canter told Carlock a man in his early to mid 20s, wearing black shorts that hung to his knees, who had brown hair, was of medium build and was about 6 feet tall and was driving an older model Chevrolet pickup truck. Carlock said investigators told him the bill was related to the raid from the night before.
The Elizabethton Police Department is investigating two counterfeit $100 bill cases. Capt. Mike Merritt of the Criminal Investigations Division said the people who passed the bills have been identified but no charges have yet been placed. “We know who they are,” Merritt said. Because of the holiday schedules, investigators with the police department and the sheriff’s department have not yet been able to compare notes to determine if the cases are related. The two $100 bills the city possesses have the same serial number.
The first incident in the city was reported on Christmas Day at the Citgo convenience store at 2404 W. Elk Ave. The clerk told Officer James Deese that a tall blond woman came in the store and paid for some items with a $100 bill. The clerk noticed the unusual appearance of the bill and the customer told her she had washed the bill.
“It looked like it had somehow gotten wet and the ink had run,” Capt. Mike Merritt of the Criminal Investigations Division said.
Another counterfeit $100 bill was reported at Holiday Market, 2226 W. G St., on Dec. 26. The clerk told Sgt. Joy Markland that a man had presented the bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. The clerk said she immediately thought it was counterfeit from its appearance. The man told her his wife had just received the bill from their credit union. Later he told Markland his wife must have accidentally washed it in her pants pocket.
Merritt said there have also been a few instances of counterfeit bills of smaller denominations that have been passed at fast food restaurants in the city. He said it has not been determined if those bills are connected to the counterfeit $100 bills.