Updated: December 26, 2012 11:32PM
MERRILLVILLE — A 22-year-old man was charged with arson, forgery, and counterfeiting for trying to use fake $20 bills at two gas stations and a gentleman’s club, and setting a car on fire on Sept. 30.
Josef Klomliam, of Gary, was arrested Sept. 30 after trying to pay for gas at the Speedmart Gas Station at 5689 Harrison Street using a counterfeit bill. He first told Cpl. Gonzales of Merrillville Police that he had no idea how he received the fake bill, and he had no other bills. Gonzales searched the car, and found five more bills under the driver seat.
Klomliam insisted he didn’t know they were counterfeit until trying to pay for gas, but checked his other dollars afterwards and noticed they were fake. After seeing a squad car approach, he panicked and hid the bills under the car seat. He claimed he received the fake bills from Community Financial Service Centers in Hammond.
According to documents submitted to Superior Court of Lake County, Detective Ray Smith of Merrillville discovered during his investigation that Community Financial Service Centers employees are trained to detect counterfeit bills, and the odds of numerous bills given to a customer would be highly unlikely.
On Sept. 29, Klomalian tried to use counterfeit money at a SAVE gas Station at 800 W. 61st Avenue, Merrillville. The clerk remotely locked the door, but Klomalian escaped after another customer asked to leave the store.
He returned at approximately 1:55 a.m. Sept. 30 and set fire to the clerk’s tan Nissan Altima in the parking lot north of the gas station.
Klomain had also tried to use counterfeit money at Deja Vu Gentleman’s Club in Lake Station.
He faces charges of arson, a Class B felony, forgery, a Class C felony, and counterfeiting, a Class D felony.