Southeast Missouri police investigating string of counterfeit cases

MALDEN, MO (KAIT) – Authorities in Malden have been warning local businesses to be on the lookout for counterfeit cash. According to Malden Police Chief Jarrett Bullock, someone has been using counterfeit cash at several businesses, including a convenience store and grocery store. Bullock said his investigators are reviewing 12 claims of counterfeit over the last five days.

"We just don't have a lot of counterfeit cases, so for them all to appear at the same time at multiple agencies, multiple jurisdictions, multiple towns, however you want to put it, one person or that one entity is responsible I would say," said Bullock, who said the crime is difficult to solve. "Even if you had the best video surveillance, you couldn't go back and say, there it is. You don't zoom in. There's just not that good a way to do it."

Bullock said members of the Secret Service out of Cape Girardeau will assist with the investigation next week. He said one test to determine if a bill is real or fake no longer works.

"The false 20s that we're getting have been treated chemically or there is some type of agent that's put on the bill, or the paper, it's not a bill, that causes it to have a positive onto the pen," said Bullock.

Bullock said Kennett is also seeing a wave of counterfeit cases.

"We have 12 twenties that we're currently trying to figure out what's going on. See if we can come up with some type of information that would lead us to where they're coming from," said Bullock.

Officials with the Malden Chamber of Commerce have been contacting business owners and alerting them to the situation. Region 8 News also contacted the only three banks in Malden. First Community Bank and First National Bank reported some of their merchants have run into counterfeit problems with 20-dollar bills.

According to Dunklin County Sheriff Bobby Holder, no counterfeit cases have been reported in county jurisdictions.

Bullock said he wants to warn people what to look for in a counterfeit bill.

First of all, he said people should look at bills with a light shining on the back side. By doing so, a band should appear. The band will read "US 20" several times on a 20-dollar bill.

Bullock said it's also important to check the gold pattern "20" on the bottom left of the bill, "face-side" up.

"There is a gold colored hologram 20. Hold that flat down, I say flat down, in the palm of your hand. Rotate the bill back and forth, watch that 20 roll," said Bullock.

For more information on the difference of counterfeit and real US currency, click here.

"They look a little bit more blurred. On a regular 20, everything is defined. There's so much characteristic to the black outlay where it says, federal us note," said Bullock. "On the others, it's blurred almost. It's like someone has run their finger over wet ink."

Bullock said anyone can determine if paper money is real or fake. They just need to know what to look for.

"Number one, slow down. Two, take the bill and just feel the bill. You handle money daily. You're going to. If you just slow down and you're a bank clerk or you're a store clerk, you know what may or may not feel right to you," said Bullock.

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