CASPER, Wyo. — A woman arrested in Natrona County for charges including Identity Theft and Forgery, in a case that involved Police Departments in Lusk and Casper as well as the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Agents with DCI say that Michele A. Foust was arrested during the afternoon hours of May 28th. In addition to Identity Theft and Forgery, Foust also faces charges of Receiving Stolen Property and Controlled Substance Possession.
Foust was originally scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in the case, Thursday June 6, 2019. But, according to officials with the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office, Foust waived that hearing and the case will be sent to District Court.
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The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine if a case has enough evidence to move forward from Circuit to District Court.
Foust is accused of passing multiple checks at retailers in Casper and Cheyenne, and the checks are believed to have been stolen.
Wyoming DCI agents say that they received a request from the Lusk Police Department to assist with an on-going case. Victims in Lusk reported having checks being forged in their name, and passed at locations in Casper.
Investigators were able to obtain pictures of the suspect and the suspect vehicle from in-store security at Casper retailers, where the checks had been passed.
An affidavit filed in the case says that stolen checks were used at Casper convenience stores, a Casper grocery store, and a Harbor Freight location in Cheyenne.
It is said that the total amount of merchandise purchased with forged checks was approximately $1,200, as of May 29, 2019.
DCI agents say that they were in the area of North Poplar Street and English Avenue, on May 28, 2019, when they saw a vehicle matching the description of a Lincoln Navigator that had been driven by the suspect.
Agents say that the vehicle registration, did not match the vehicle itself.
Officers followed the vehicle to the 2900 block of CY Avenue, where the vehicle parked at a Casper bowling alley. Agents made contact with the vehicle occupants, identifying the passenger as Foust.
Agents said that Foust matched security images of the suspect in the case.
When speaking with agents, Foust said that she had spent some time in Colorado where she learned to forge checks and pass them at stores for merchandise.
Agents say that Foust claimed that a female, whom was not identified, had given Foust the stolen checks after cleaning out a storage unit.
Foust admitted that she would forge the signature on the checks, and said that she had used them at Casper convenience and grocery stores.
Police say that a search of the suspect vehicle yielded checks that were, both, blank and filled out. The checks were identified as belonging to other people. Agents also reported finding driver’s licenses and IDs that belonged to other individuals.
It was also reported that suspected methamphetamine was found in the vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as Rye Smouse, was arrested on a warrant for a Probation and Parole hold.
Foust was also transported to the Natrona County Detention Center without further reported incident.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.