Elkins man arrested on forgery charges

ELKINS – An Elkins man was arrested and accused of forging his automobile insurance information, police said.

Melvin Phillips, Jr., 52, was charged on one count of forgery of a public record, a felony.

The arrest came after Randolph County Magistrate Rob Elbon called state police officials on Feb. 18 advising them that Phillips reported to the Randolph County Magistrate Court earlier that day to appear on a traffic citation for not wearing a seatbelt, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint states the citation was issued to Phillips on Feb. 8, and upon his arrival at Magistrate Court, Phillips allegedly “presented, to the court, an altered copy of an insurance card.”

The card showed an effective date of Jan. 10 through Aug. 10, the complaint states. Police were advised upon further investigation that the card’s actual effective date should have been Feb. 10 through Aug. 10, meaning that Phillips’ car was not insured at the time of the citation, the complaint reads.

Phillips was arraigned by Magistrate George Riggleman and is free on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.

Also in Randolph County Magistrate Court:

Jesse Copen, 35, of Monterville, was arrested on one count of third offense DUI-driving revoked, a felony, one count of driving without a seatbelt, a misdemeanor, and one count of driving with defective equipment-registration lights, a misdemeanor, on Saturday.

State Police officials reported that Copen was driving a black 1994 Chevy truck that did not have functioning lights. Trooper C. E. Elliott, the investigating officer, was advised by State Police Communications that Copen’s driver’s license was revoked for DUI on June 28, 2006, and that Copen had a driving revoked DUI offense dating back to June 24, 2009.

Copen was arraigned by Magistrate George M. Riggleman and is out on a $10,000 cash or surety bond.

Contact Chad Clem by email at