By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
An Atmore man was arrested August 20, two months and a day after he allegedly switched genuine money for counterfeit money while purchasing a used car from a Florida man.
Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office investigators worked on the case for two months before locating Matthew Cody Blair, 28, of a Williams Lane address, and taking him into custody.
According to the Escambia County Jail website, Blair was charged with one count each of larceny, theft of a motor vehicle and fraud. He was released several hours after his arrest when total bond of $7,500 ($2,500 on each count) was posted.
ECSO reports indicate that Blair agreed to pay the Florida man $1,000 cash for a 1993 Honda sedan. The two met June 19 at Grey Goose Liquor Store on Alabama 21, at the Florida line, to consummate the deal.
The next day, Larose reported that he had been hoodwinked.
Reports show that he told ECSO investigators that Blair had handed him $1,000 in $50 bills for the car. The seller apparently left his wallet on the front seat of the car while he collected his other property from the Nissan so he could turn the vehicle over to the Atmore man.
Larose reportedly retrieved his wallet, then Blair drove the car away.
The Florida man said he discovered the next day that all the money was counterfeit. He told county detectives that when the two conducted the transaction, all the $50 bills appeared to be genuine. The bills in his wallet did not match the ones he had initially received, he said.
Larose opined that Blair must have switched the bills during the time he was taking his personal belongings out of the car, and his wallet was left on the seat.
The deal was apparently conducted through Facebook, and Larose furnished lawmen with a screen shot of the conversation between the two, during which Blair seemed adamant that the transaction be conducted at or near the Florida-Alabama line.
Reports shows that the Florida investigators contacted the Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Office and obtained Blair’s date of birth, driver license number and photo, and Blair was eventually tracked down.