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Man Wanted in Five States Tracked Down After Television Show

March 6, 1992

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) _ A rerun of the ″Sally Jessy Raphael″ television talk show Friday resulted in the arrest of a man accused of leaving bad checks and broken hearts in five states.

Jerry Wayne Montgomery was arrested in suburban Minneapolis, where he was working as a mechanic, said Shirley Blankenship, a St. Peters detective who has been tracking him for a year.

Montgomery was wanted in Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia on charges including bigamy, forgery, stealing and writing bad checks, Blankenship said.

The show produced numerous calls, including one from a man who recently sold Montgomery tools and knew where he worked. Another call came from a woman who had dated him, Blankenship said.

″They’d had one date and he wanted to get married,″ Blankenship said. ″I said, ’Count this as a blessing, you were saved.‴

Blankenship had been on Montgomery’s trail since he disappeared six weeks after marrying a woman in St. Peters, 25 miles northwest of St. Louis, in January 1991.

Montgomery had written thousands of dollars of bad checks on the couple’s joint banking account, which forced the woman into bankruptcy, Blankenship said.

The woman and two other former wives were featured on the show, which was first broadcast in November. The initial broadcast produced a fourth wife and numerous leads, but the trail went cold in Lexington, Ky., Blankenship said.

″His method is to move into an area, meet a woman through a singles service and shortly thereafter marry her,″ Blakenship said.

Unlike other so-called sweetheart swindlers, Montgomery victimized women who were not financially well-off, Blankenship said. He used them for their credit to make purchases and set up joint checking accounts, she said.

″He wines and dines them for a couple of weeks and within a matter of weeks they are married,″ Blankenship said. ″I think he’s just an out-and-out conman.″

Minnetonka, Minn., police spokesman Steve Sandwick said Montgomery was arrested without incident and was held in the Hennepin County jail. He did not know how long Montgomery had been in the area.

Blankenship said authorities in Missouri would seek extradition. She said he is charged in warrants issued by St. Charles County for forgery, stealing more than $150 and bigamy. He was accused of still being married to a woman in Oklahoma when he married the Missouri woman.

″It’s really kind of sad,″ Blankenship said. ″I’ve gotten a lot of calls from women - they’re saying, ‘The man I was involved with was not Jerry Wayne Montgomery but he did the very same thing to me. What can I do?’ ″

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