BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena Police Department Officer Steve Stout investigated a report of a counterfeit $20 bill that was received at Bear State Bank last week.
On Monday, July 27, Bear State Bank employees were sorting through the weekend’s deposit bags when the money-counting machine picked up the counterfeit bill. The bill had been taken at a local restaurant; however, there are no leads because the eatery has no way to determine when the bill was passed through their store.
Mena Police Department Investigator John Logan said, “We are not working any counterfeit rings at this time. We believe this is just an isolated incident.” Logan also said that it is protocol to contact the United States Secret Service since they are the arm of the federal government that handles counterfeit cases. Mena Police Department provided the Secret Service with the serial number of the bill to cross-reference with current investigations.
Logan explained that there are an average of six or so counterfeit bills found within the City per year but that each case is handled by protocol.
Last year, Mena Police Department found washed bills and thumb drives with templates and programs for making and printing counterfeit bills in a suspect’s vehicle. Using protocol, they sent the information to the Secret Service and found that the suspect and evidence was part of a case out of Oklahoma that stretched to California.
There are a few tips to keep citizens and businesses from receiving counterfeit bills. For business owners, Logan suggests using counterfeit markers. For businesses and individuals, Logan said you can look for a magnetic strip that is in all bills, $5 and up, also the paper will have red and blue threads, and normally, he said, “the ink just doesn’t look right, it appears slightly blurred and washed.” Although the bill that was received at Bear State Bank had been marker tested, it did not contain a security strip, so following all tips is recommended.
Logan advises that if you suspect a counterfeit bill that you call them immediately at 479-394-1212, it may lead them to a bigger investigation.