MT. JULIET -Police lauded a Mt. Juliet merchant for his role in helping stop a multi-state theft and counterfeiting operation involving generators bought with faulty checks.
Josh Miller, manager of Tri Green Equipment on Lebanon Road, helped Mt. Juliet police catch and charge Jason Quintanilla, 39, of North Bay Village, Fla. with multiple counts related to the apparent cross-state crime spree going on for the past several weeks, according to police spokesperson Tyler Chandler.
Chandler said on Nov. 30, Det. David Stolinsky learned from Honda Corp. a person may try to buy equipment with a counterfeit check from Tri Green Equipment. He said Stolinsky got the suspect's description from an earlier theft that happened in Arkansas.
Chandler said the suspect arrived at the store Nov. 30 just before noon and bought three generators with a counterfeit check for $7,665.51. Officers were hiding outside, and when Quintanilla drove out of the parking lot with the generators, he was arrested and charged.
"As soon as the person pulled out of the parking lot they were on him," said Miller. "There were six to eight armed officers."
He said it was "totally unreal and exciting."
Miller said he worked with officers to help catch the suspect the day before, but no one showed up that day. He said a plan was arranged where they had a detective's phone number if someone showed up to pick up the generators on subsequent days.
"The next day, a guy showed up," he said. "We stalled around, and the police were called."
Miller said he was proud of the work his team did at the store, as well as authorities and investigators.
"I think my team did a good job keeping calm with the suspect while we waited for police to arrive and get into position," he said.
Miller said waiting those five minutes for police to arrive and get into position outside seemed "like five hours."
"This is clearly a prime example of a great partnership between private corporations, local merchants and police," said police Chief Andy Garrett. "I'm humbled that Honda Corp. and Tri Green Equipment in Mt. Juliet trusted us with the intelligence that led to this discovery and apprehension."
Chandler said Quintanilla planned to strike three other Honda generator dealers in the surrounding area.
"Counterfeit checks were ready to be used at Chilton Turf Center in Nashville for $4,258.47, Howard's Honda in Nashville for $6,578.76, and Honda of Cool Springs in Franklin for $7,236.93," Chandler said in a press release.
The SUV driven by Quintanilla had a stolen license plate from the Providence MarketPlace area. It was stolen earlier that day, according to police.
Chandler said Quintanilla made the fraudulent purchases for someone out of state and is part of a much larger criminal operation. he said the suspect received preprinted checks, and the purchases were made prior to Quintanilla arriving to pick up the generators at Honda dealers.
Police said the generators were supposed to be bought in bulk and shipped out of the county.
Detectives passed on intelligence gathered from this local arrest to other local, state and federal authorities to help arrest others involved.
Quintanilla was arrested and booked into the Wilson County Jail on four counts of criminal simulation with a $20,000 bond; theft of property with a $500 bond; another count of theft of property with a $1,000 bond; and possession of drug paraphernalia with a $1,000 bond.
Mt. Juliet News Managing Editor Laurie Everett may be reached at 615-754-6397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.