Discoveries made during a routine shoplifting call in Eagan led to the arrest of two Dakota County men accused of running a serial check forging operation out of a hotel room.
Bryant Jeffrey Evenson, a 27-year-old Apple Valley resident, and Matthew Kenneth Cantley, a 25-year-old Hastings man, both face one felony count of identity theft, one felony count of possession of stolen or counterfeit checks and one count of misdemeanor theft following their arrest on April 23. Cantley also faces one felony count of possession of a controlled substance.
If convicted on the identity theft charge, both Evenson and Cantley could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
Eagan police caught up to Evenson and Cantley on April 23, when the employees of a department store called to report that two men had left the store wearing pairs of stolen shoes.
Police found both men outside the store entrance and identified the pair as Cantley and Evenson, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Dakota County Attorney's Office. While searching Cantley, an officer found a stolen checkbook listing "J.D." and "R.D." as account holders—and a driver's license application in J.D.'s name. The officer also found .38 grams of a methamphetamine on Cantley, according to the complaint.
Police made contact with J.D., who told officers that the checkbook was stolen from the inside of a parked car on April 16. Inside the stolen checkbook, police found carbon copies of three checks written after April 16 for a total of $538.18.
Police also searched Evenson at the time of arrest, and allegedly found another stolen checkbook—this one listed to "J.W.," another victim. Officers also found a driver's license application receipt in the victim's name on Evenson, according to the complaint. When contacted, J.W. told police $1,800 in unauthorized charges had been made on the account.
Police also searched a hotel room where Cantley and Evenson were staying. There, they allegedly found drug paraphernalia, two printers and scanners and blank check stock. Officers also discovered a series of counterfeit checks and more driver's license application receipts bearing the name of at least nine other victims.
A woman who was also staying in the hotel room allegedly told police that Bryant was manufacturing counterfeit driver's licenses so that he and Cantley could present them as identification when writing checks.
The men would then purchase tools at local hardware stores and sell them to friends, the woman told police.