June 26--A man and woman were arrested at a Fort Smith motel Thursday in what police initially thought was a hostage situation, however police now believe a true hostage situation didn't occur.
Joshua Allen, 30, of Fort Smith was arrested on felony warrants for first-degree forgery and theft by receiving of stolen checks from Fayetteville, said Sgt. Daniel Grubbs with the Fort Smith Police Department. Sarah Nall, 23, also of Fort Smith was arrested on four felony warrants for first-degree forgery and theft by receiving.
The incident began about 7:55 a.m. Thursday when an employee at Burger King, 5323 Rogers Ave., reported Allen, who was driving a white Nissan at the time, went through the drive-thru lane, placed an order and attempted to purchase the items he ordered using a counterfeit $20 bill. The employee told police she immediately recognized the bill as fake as this was the fourth counterfeit bill she'd received while working at the business.
When Allen left Burger King, employees there watched as he parked at Season's Inn. .
Police arrived at the motel and ran the license plate information of the white Nissan in a national crime database. The license plate returned to a Gentry man who drives a 1993 Chevrolet pickup as the owner. Police also ran the vehicle identification number in the database. The VIN returned to a Nissan Sentra owned by a Hispanic man, not Allen, according to the Police Department.
Allen and Nall were found in Room 201 at the motel. A man named Christopher Watkins was also in the room during the reported hostage matter but not arrested, according to the Police Department.
After the alleged forgery, Nall reported to police she was being held at the motel against her will.
"She initially sent a text to an officer in Springdale, saying she was being held against her will. He contacted us about the time we tracked them (followed them) to the motel after the counterfeit attempt," Grubbs said.
When Allen and Nall wouldn't come out of their room, SWAT personnel and negotiators were dispatched to the scene, the release states. Nall was compliant with police and maintained consistent contact with negotiators by texting them.
After the two were arrested, the manager at Seasons Inn, Allen Kamal, said he didn't understand why the matter was considered a hostage situation, because Nall walked out of the room on her own free will and was arrested. Ninety minutes passed before Nall walked out the back door of the hotel room. At Season's Inn, guests have a back door that leads to the interior of the building and a front door that leads to the parking lots outside.
"We discussed charges of communicating a false alarm (regarding the hostage situation), but the prosecuting attorney's office declined the charge at this time. We now believe a true hostage situation did not exist," Grubbs said.
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