Arlington police have seven reported cases of counterfeit bills being used in town in the past month, detective Sgt. Jonathan Ventura said.
Arlington police usually see only a couple of cases involving fake bills a month, he said.
The recent cases aren't believed to be related. Whoever's making the fake money likely is motivated more by drug use than sophisticated profit schemes, he said.
"There's nothing saying this is a trend or an organization or one particular person," he said. "It appears to be a spike anomaly for us."
Detectives have obtained surveillance video in some cases and continue to investigate, he said.
The businesses hit so far include gas stations, a convenience store, a hotel and a sports supply shop, he said. It's likely the money changed hands a few times without people knowing what they were spending.
The money was mostly $20 bills but included one $50 bill and one $100 bill, he said. The bills apparently were put together using home printing equipment.
People should be careful, Ventura said. Pens used to detect fake money don't work in all cases, such as when real money is washed and re-printed.
Arlington police say key signs of counterfeit money include a lack of watermarks or holograms, money that feels or looks odd, and unusual serial numbers.
"They all have a number of features to detect counterfeiting," Ventura said. "It takes somebody just moments to look for those features."
In most cases, knowingly spending counterfeit money is felony forgery under state law.
For more information about detecting counterfeit money, visit www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org
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