Clifton Thomas, 30, Michael Thomas, 33, both from Ponchatoula, La., and William Drake 31, Tickfaw, La., are each currently being held in the Clay County Justice Center on $100,000 cash bonds (with no 10 percent allowed).
The incident apparently began as a forgery complaint at First Financial Bank, 2180 East National Ave., Brazil, shortly after 5 p.m., Friday.
According to officials with the Brazil City Police Department, James Bush, 51, Kentucky, entered the bank and immediately claimed he was being forced to cash a forged check by three black males who were waiting for him in a white sport utility vehicle (SUV) parked in The Freeze parking lot across the street.
However, the incident apparently started much earlier in the day.
According his official statement, Bush explained he met one of the suspects while looking for work in Indianapolis. When Bush agreed and got into a 2010 Chevy Traverse driven by Drake, he said two more men also got inside and restrained him from leaving while the driver took Interstate-70 into Clay County.
Upon arrival in Brazil, Bush said the suspects went to Walmart. While two of the suspects went inside to purchase new clothing, Bush was allegedly kept in the vehicle.
Forced to change clothes, Bush said the suspects allegedly forged a check for him to cash.
According to the probable cause affidavits on file at the courthouse, the suspects did not have legal authority to be in possession of checks belonging to two Brazil businesses, including Hughes Auto Sales and Westside Replacement Parts.
Once spotting officials investigating the incident at the bank, the suspects left the restaurant parking lot and turned east on United States 40.
After briefly losing the pursuing officers, Drake headed back to US 40 and turned west but stopped in an area near Clay Street.
Although the suspects fled on foot, a local resident helped officers catch one suspect near the vehicle, while a K-9 Unit from the Clay County Sheriff's Department located a second suspect in a bean field across the street. The third suspect was taken into custody without incident later the same evening when an off-duty sheriff's deputy observed him walking west on US 40 in the area of Tower Road.
The Clay County Prosecutor's Office filed formal allegations against the three men Wednesday.
Clifton W. Thomas was formally charged with class C felony criminal confinement and two counts of class D felony receiving stolen property in Clay Circuit Court. After entering a plea of not guilty, Clifton notified the court he would be seeking private counsel. A jury trial is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4.
Michael T. Thomas was formally charged with class C felony criminal confinement, two counts of class D felony receiving stolen property and one class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement in Clay Superior Court. A public defender will be appointed in this case, which is tentatively scheduled for a jury trial Dec. 13.
Officials have also confirmed Drake is also facing an outstanding arrest warrant from Allen County, Ind.
Officials at the Clay County Justice Center confirmed Thursday that all three suspects remain incarcerated while awaiting further court proceedings.