Police chase bad-check writer to Miss., border

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Although it’s only been a week since the Wal-Mart Supercenter’s grand opening, Demopolis police were already forced to face a determined bad check writer.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Demopolis police trailed Wendy Michelle Austin from the new shopping center in Demopolis, almost to the Mississippi state line, police said.

According to Manuel, Austin, 30, has several aliases and officials are still unsure of her true identity.

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“She told us her name was Alston at first, now she said it’s Austin,” Demopolis police chief Jeff Manuel said. “She has identification, but the one she gave us was one she made herself. So this name is subject to change too,” Manuel said.

Austin was attempting to purchase items from Wal-Mart with bad checks the night the chase occurred, Manuel said.

After realizing Wal-Mart would not accept her checks, Austin, age 30, led two Demopolis units to Sumter County where one Sumter County Sheriff unit and one York police joined the pursuit.

“They stopped somewhere around Mississippi,” Manuel said. “They arrested her on charges dealing with bad checks.”

Austin, a resident of Memphis, Tenn., is being held in the Marengo County Detention Center as the case undergoes further investigation, Manuel said.

Since the Supercenter’s Jan. 23 opening, Demopolis police have made six shoplifting related arrests.

“People are trying to check the security out,” Manuel said. “But we are trying to stay in the area as much as possible for loss prevention.”