Trooper breaks up alleged forgery, identity-theft ring

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Jontiez D. Brooks, 27, of Chicago, left, Andre Justice Reed Jr., 29, of Chicago, center, and Renard Winfield Jr., 28, of Iowa City were each charged with forgery and nine counts of identity theft Saturday night. Winfield was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two Chicagoans and one Iowan were arrested on U.S. Interstate 80 Saturday evening after they were allegedly found in possession of stolen credit cards and gear for forging checks.

Jontiez D. Brooks, 27, of 9721 S. Harlem Ave., #10, Chicago, Illinois, was charged with forgery and nine counts of identity theft.

Andre Justice Reed Jr., 29, of 658 E. 77th St., #1E, Chicago, Illinois, was charged with forgery and nine counts of identity theft.

Renard Winfield Jr., 28, of 1053 Cross Park Ave., Iowa City, was charged with forgery, nine counts of identity theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The incident began shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, when an Iowa State Patrol Trooper initiated a traffic stop on eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 near the 113 mile marker of a 2020 Chevrolet Traverse, operated by Reed.

During the traffic stop, the trooper “developed reasonable articulable suspicion to believe the occupants were engaged in criminal activity and requested a K9 come to the traffic stop to perform a free air sniff of the suspect vehicle,” according to court records.

When the sniffer dog gave a “positive indication,” the trooper followed up with a “probable-cause search” of the vehicle and found, according to court records:

  • a black backpack on the back seat floor, containing a printer, laptop, a folder with blank checks and fraudulently made checks, containing the banking information of one of the victims,
  • stolen credit cards, including one on Winfield’s person, with the names of nine different individuals,
  • a card reader among stolen credit cards in a cubby in the dash and
  • a black wallet on Winfield’s person, containing the driver’s license and stolen credit cards of another victim.

In addition, raw marijuana residue in a clear container and a gold grinder containing raw marijuana residue were found in a duffel bag that also contained mail belonging to Winfield.

The alleged forgers and identity thieves are held in the Dallas County Jail on $10,000 cash or surety bond in advance of initial appearances in Dallas County District Court.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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