East Prairie man charged in connection with forgery investigation

Gary Wayne Woods, Jr. (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Department)
Gary Wayne Woods, Jr. (Source: Mississippi County Sheriff's Department)

EAST PRAIRIE (KFVS) - An East Prairie man is facing several felony charges after a forgery investigation, according to Mississippi County Sheriff Keith Moore.

Gary Wayne Woods, Jr., 51, was charged with forgery and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Woods also faces one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree. Deputies say this charge stems from the forgery incident, during which Woods pressured a minor to commit a felony offense.

Sheriff Moore said the investigation began last week when Deputy Cory Hutcheson took a report of a forged check being passed at a convenience store in East Prairie.

When Deputy Hutcheson got a surveillance video of the transaction, he found that Woods had passed the check after watching his teenage son forge the signature. Based on that information, the deputy applied for and got a warrant for Woods' arrest.

During the investigation, Deputy Hutcheson also learned that Woods was a convicted felon whom reportedly had several firearms inside his home.

On January 15, Sheriff Moore and officers went to Woods' address to serve the warrant. When they arrived, the sheriff and deputies were met at the door by Woods, who then invited them to search the home.

While inside, Sheriff Moore and Deputy Hutcheson each found loaded rifles, one of which was an SKS concealed beneath the mattress in the teenager's bedroom.

Due to his status as a convicted felon, Woods is prohibited from possessing a firearm. At that time, Woods was arrested and taken to the Mississippi County Detention Center.

During an interview, deputies say Woods claimed ownership of both rifles and admitted to hiding the SKS under his son's mattress. Woods also acknowledged instructing his son to forge a signature on the stolen check.

Woods remained in the Mississippi County Detention Center with bond set at $50,000.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.