JOHN DAY - Police Chief Kent Wyatt reported officers from the John Day Police Department took a local man into custody on charges of forgery and theft in connection with a series of checkbook thefts and forgeries which had occurred in the past week.

Michael Phillips, 28, was arrested after officers had been notified by the manager of the Grubsteak Restaurant that Phillips had written checks to the business on another person's account.

"The restaurant manager became suspicious when he reviewed the checks the business had received, and when he questioned his employees, he realized that the description given did not match the person who wrote the checks. He then notified the police," Wyatt said.

Officers arranged a system to catch the suspect if he returned to either the Grubsteak or the Dirty Shame.

At about 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4, Phillips entered the Dirty Shame and was arrested shortly thereafter by John Day officers Tom Hutchison and Cody Weaver, along with Grant County deputy Richard Gray.

Officers searched Phillips and his property after the arrest, and discovered he was also in possession of methamphetamine.

During a later investigation, officers discovered evidence linking Phillips to the theft of personal checkbooks from a local residence and also from a business in John Day, police reported.

He reportedly posed as at least two different people over a period of approximately one week and wrote forged checks to several local businesses under assumed names.

Phillips was lodged in the Grant County Jail, and Wyatt said additional charges are anticipated as the investigation continues.  

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