Five charged with bad check crimes

Thomas Clark Washington
Schawn Curtis Rivers
Josua Samuel Knight
James Elbert Graden
Charles Terrance Baker

Five Florida men were arrested and jailed in Front Royal on Monday after being charged with a variety of fraudulent check offenses.

The defendants are: Schawn Curtis Rivers, 27; Thomas Clark Washington, 43; Charles Tarence Baker, 22; James Elbert Graden, 39; and Josua Samuel Knight, 22, all from Jacksonville.

Their charges include forgery, obtaining money by false pretenses and passing bad checks.

Sheriff Daniel McEathron said in a news release that three of the five defendants had used fraudulent checks to buy more than $1,300 of merchandise from one or more Target stores in Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Lynchburg, all on Monday.

McEathron said Warren County Sheriff’s deputies seized a large number of unprinted checks, several thousand dollars worth of Target gift cards, cellphones, fake identification documents and a computer during a search of a 2015 Dodge Caravan in which the five defendants were traveling.

McEathron said deputies stopped the vehicle in the Front Royal Target parking lot after store security notified them that three of the men had entered the building and come under suspicion of passing bad checks.

Members of Target’s store security gave deputies four fraudulent personal checks and one fraudulent travelers check that authorities believe were used by the defendants.

McEathron said in an interview that the investigation is continuing and may involve offenses committed in several other states.

“Who knows how many more places between here and Jacksonville where they may have committed the same type of crimes?” McEathron said. “It’s not unusual for people to just hit things from state to state.”

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office investigations division at 635-7100.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or

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