Suspected Forger Caught In California

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An ex-employee of a Young ranch, suspected of numerous thefts, burglary and forgery was apprehended in Barstow, Calif. last week.

Ernest Eugene Clark, 42, is suspected in numerous crimes throughout Arizona, and in a car theft out of New Mexico.

According to Detective Brian Havey of the Gila County Sheriff's Office, Clark was fired from a ranch outside of Young in late July. Before leaving the ranch, he reportedly stole several checks from the owner. Havey said Clark passed forged checks at both the Valley Store and Antler Bar in Young. The proprietors did not give it a second thought because he was often sent into town with signed checks to buy supplies.

It was not until they tried to cash the checks that the forgery was discovered. The checks were written on an account that had been closed, Havey said.

Clark passed additional checks on the account, including one in Heber, but that will have to be pursued by Navajo County authorities, the detective said.

Clark is also believed to have stolen a motorcycle and sold it in Rye. He reportedly also stole a car in New Mexico and was driving it when he was apprehended in California Aug. 15.

Havey said Clark allegedly broke into the home of a policeman and stole several guns and then sold them at bars in northeastern Arizona. Gila County is filing charges against Clark for nine counts of forgery and one count of trafficking in stolen property, Havey said.

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