Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird points out errors in counterfeit currency passed along to local merchants in recent days.
Local police arrested two people Tuesday afternoon in connection with a counterfeiting investigation involving an estimated $7,000 in counterfeit notes that are apparently circulating in the Whitley County area.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird declined to discuss many of the details about the investigation Tuesday night, which is still ongoing, but did confirm that more arrests are expected in connection with the investigation.
About 4 p.m. Tuesday, Williamsburg Police and Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Shelley executed a search warrant at 5215 Meadow Creek Road.
Inside the home police recovered several printers and scanners along with other equipment allegedly used to produce counterfeit notes, Bird said in a release.
At the scene, police arrested Terry O’Leary, 28, and Amanda Cox, 31, in connection with the investigation of the counterfeit notes. Both were lodged in the Whitley County Detention Center, Bird said.
Police also arrested two other people at the scene on unrelated charges. Jammy D. Poore, 38, and Linda Leforce, 40, were both arrested on failure to appear warrants.
The investigation is continuing and Williamsburg police are working with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Corbin Police Department and U.S. Secret Service in connection with the case.
A rash of counterfeit $20 bills began popping up around the area within the last week.
Corbin Police Detective Sgt. Rusty Hedrick said that about $750 in counterfeit bills have been reported in the Corbin area.
"The first bills showed up on Jan. 23," Hedrick said.
The largest target has been McDonald’s, but Hedrick said several other fast food restaurants have been victims.
"Mostly, the counterfeit money is found in the stores’ night deposits at the bank," Hedrick said.
The bills in Corbin are mostly $20 and $50 denominations.
Hedrick said some of the bills are even passing the ink test and have the red and blue fibers in the paper.
Bird said that within a 10-hour period Monday, Williamsburg police responded to three separate incidents and recovered a total of 15 counterfeit $20 bills.
Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said that his department investigated a report about a counterfeit $20 bill at a business near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line and recovered one bogus bill.
Williamsburg police recovered another counterfeit $20 bill about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at McDonalds.
"People need to be cautious about these things. They are going around," Harrell warned.
"All of them have the same serial numbers," Bird added. "They are printed with a high quality color printer but they are not even the actual size.
"If you lay one down next to an actual bill, it is going to be a little shorter or a little thinner. Some of them are cut crooked. All it takes is just a few seconds to look at them and you will be able to recognize they are counterfeit."
Deputy Chief Jason Caddell received two separate calls Monday and recovered five counterfeit $20 bills and Officer Jason Strunk recovered 10 counterfeit $20 bills at IGA Monday evening.
Bird said that people intentionally passing counterfeit bills will typically go to fast food restaurants, tobacco shacks and places, which tend to be busy and often don’t take time to check bills.
Many times the bogus bills will then be passed on to other customers.
"Most of the people, who had these counterfeits, truly didn’t realize they were counterfeit. They were passed to them by somebody else, which is how they ended up at IGA," Bird said.
Pay close attention
Bird encouraged business owners to slow down and look at bills being passed at their locations.
"All business owners, employees and citizens should pay close attention to all $20 bills they may receive," Bird said.
"Anyone, who suspects they have received one of these counterfeit bills is asked to contact the Williamsburg Police Department or any local law enforcement agency."
There are pens businesses can purchase at most office supply stores to check to see if a bill is likely legitimate and Bird also encourages people to hold bills up to the light and look for the barcode in the bills, which is difficult to counterfeit. Many times counterfeit bills are also cut unevenly too.
"Just the general feel of them is not right," he added.
If someone believes they have a bill, which might be counterfeit, then they can contact a local law enforcement agency or take it to a bank to be checked out.
If a business recognizes a bill as counterfeit, Bird encourages them to call the police and try to get the customer to stay there until police arrive. If they won’t stay, then Bird encourages people to try and get a description of the person and the tag number on their vehicle.
"In these cases, the people passing them had no knowledge they were counterfeit. They stayed and waited on police and we got their information," he said.
Anyone with information about the counterfeit bills is asked to contact any local law enforcement agency or the United States Secret Service.
Williamsburg police can be reached during regular business hours at 549-3126. The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department can be reached during normal business hours at 549-6006.
Both agencies can be reached after regular business hours by calling the Whitley County 911 Center’s non-emergency telephone number, 549-6017.