Conspicuous criminals

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

Turns out Baker City wasn't the ideal place to work a counterfeit bill scam.

Not enough anonymity, apparently.

We were pleased - and not a little bit amused - to piece together the tale of how a couple of suspicious store clerks and a clever police officer tracked a fake $20 bill to its suspected source.

That's James Davis Hume. He's the 31-year-old Arizona man who was arrested in late January on two counts of first-degree forgery.

Here's what happened:

Hume allegedly paid for merchandise at the Baker City Bi-Mart with a $20 bill.

A clerk there, after it was determined the bill was counterfeit, remembered that the customer had showed an Arizona drivers license when he was asked for identification.

Another clerk, this one working at York's Grocery, also called police after Hume tried to pay for items there with a $20 bill.

The clerk refused the bill, believing it was fake, and Hume paid with legitimate currency. That clerk also noticed that Hume was driving a car with Arizona license plates.

With that information, Baker City Police officer Shannin Zednik, while patroling, kept an eye out for cars with Arizona plates.

Soon after she saw one parked at a local motel where Hume had been staying.

He checked out of the motel, but police arrested him later.

It seems that one of the criminal's best defenses - blending in - is an ineffective tactic in Baker City.

The Baker City Herald
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