Counterfeit case continues to evolveCloquet detectives served a warrant last week that effectively shut down a small counterfeiting operation, Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande wrote in his report to city officials last week. Lamirande also noted the police estimate $5,000 in counterfeit bills have been reported by local merchants and as far away as the Twin Cities.
By: Jana Peterson/Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Cloquet detectives served a warrant last week that effectively shut down a small counterfeiting operation, Cloquet Police Chief Wade Lamirande wrote in his report to city officials last week. Lamirande also noted the police estimate $5,000 in counterfeit bills have been reported by local merchants and as far away as the Twin Cities.
Paper and a printer thought to be used to create fake bills were found in the home of an Esko man last week. Although the man was arrested Dec. 23, he has not yet been formally charged, the county attorney’s office confirmed Wednesday. The Pine Journal generally does not publish the name of a suspect until charges have been filed by the Carlton County Attorney’s office.
Police also arrested a suspect earlier this month after he passed a number of counterfeit bills at area businesses.
According to Cloquet Police Sergeant Carey Ferrell, police received a call from L&M Supply in Cloquet Nov. 30, stating that store managers had discovered a man had passed 15 suspicious $20 bills at the store on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, one of the managers noticed the bills had a slightly different feel to them than regular bills. He then used a special color-changing marking pen on the bills designed to determine if the bills are counterfeit, which they were.
“The bills were actually very well done,” admitted Ferrell. “They were exactly the same size as a regular bill, the ink was only slightly lighter in color and they felt just a little different.”
The suspect was then identified on the tape from the store’s video security camera.
Later that same day, a call came in to Dispatch reporting the Carlton Little Store had also detected counterfeit $20 bills that had been passed in their store. The man seen on the video tape was identified by the manager as the same man who was in L&M. A deputy investigating the case was later able to provide the name of the suspect.
Authorities then learned the suspect was already in custody in St. Louis County following a traffic stop in Duluth around 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning. At that time Duluth Police noted he was wanted on an outstanding warrant issued in Olmstead County and also discovered he had $1,400 in counterfeit $20 bills in his possession.
The Cloquet Police Department is still investigating the case and it is unknown how many of the counterfeit bills may be in circulation. The suspect is still awaiting formal charges by the Carlton County Attorney’s Office.
All of the $20 bills surrendered had the serial number of IB79466761E.
Individuals and business are asked to be on the lookout for suspicious-looking bills, and if you suspect a bill is counterfeit contact the police immediately at 219-879-1247 or 911.
If you receive a counterfeit bill, do not return it to the passer, but delay the passer if possible. Observe the passer’s description, as well as that of any companions, and the license plate numbers of any vehicles used.
Write your initials and the date in the white border areas of the suspect note, and limit the handling of the note. Carefully place it in a protective covering, such as an envelope.
Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a U.S. Secret Service special agent.
More information on how to identify counterfeit bills can be found at: www.secretservice.gov/know_your_money.shtml