Shaking hands and nervousness betrayed an alleged forger during a routine traffic stop, according to testimony in Recorder's Court Thursday.
An officer testified in court that Shirlynn Etter, 30, was riding in a 2000 Dodge Ram on Wednesday when the driver, Rafael Colon, crossed the center line near the intersection of 14th Avenue and 21st Street.
During the subsequent traffic stop, the officer said he observed both Colon and Etter exhibiting signs of extreme nervousness: he was sweating; her hands were shaking.
The officer asked if he could search the car, and Colon consented — advising the officer that there was a digital scale in the car, which was then revealed.
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The officer testified in court that the scale had a white residue on it.
The officer then searched Etter's purse, with her consent, discovering two checks from The Cantina Grill, Bar & Lounge, on Broadway, a marijuana pipe, various pills including Hydrocodone, a check card in someone else's name and a counterfeit $20.
Etter told the officer that she worked at The Cantina, that she did payroll there. A call to the restaurant's owner confirmed her employment, but the owner denied that Etter did payroll or should have access to those checks.
One of the checks was written for $179 and made out to someone whose name the owner did not recognize.
Etter told the officer at the time that she did not know the $20 was fake.
The name on the check card found in Etter's purse matched an earlier case in 2011, when Etter was charged with trying to cash checks she had allegedly stolen from another woman's purse.
Judge Michael Cielinski set $5,000 for the first-degree forgery charge, $2,500 for the fourth-degree forgery charge, $500 for theft by receiving, $500 for possession of drug-related objects and $500 for possession of dangerous drugs.
Colon, who was charged with possession of drug-related objects and crossing the center line, had already posted his bond and did not appear in court.