More than 20 counterfeit bills have turned up in Cedar Rapids this week, prompting police to remind businesses and banks to be on the lookout.
Three men already have been arrested for trying to pass the fake currency. Investigators are working to determine if any of the incidents are connected, and believe there may be more bogus bills in the area.
According to a criminal complaint, Franklin L. Davis, 39, of 1003 10th St SE, used three counterfeit $20 bills to buy merchandise Monday at Plato’s Closet, 3645 First Ave. SE. Police allege he also used two counterfeit $20 bills to buy peaches and watermelon a nearby produce stand that same day.
Davis was arrested Tuesday afternoon when he returned to the business.
“He returned the second day to buy a watch, and that’s when they recognized him and called police,” Sgt. Denni Randall said.
Police found Davis in possession of two more fake $20 bills.
Officers arrested two other men Tuesday night when they allegedly tried to pass counterfeit bills at Hy-Vee, 1556 First Ave. SE. Kevin O. Boykins, 44, of 837 Camburn Ct. SE, allegedly had counterfeit $20 bills, $10 bills and $5 bills when he tried to make a purchase at the store around 9:15 p.m. A clerk used a money pen that indicated the currency was fake.
About two hours later, Raashawn S. Langford, 35, of 184 Eighth Ave., Marion, was arrested at the same store after police said he tried to use a counterfeit $10 bill to try to buy two beers and a bottle of Remy Martin liquor. The clerk realized the issue and alerted an officer who was working security. Police found a small amount of marijuana in Langford’s pocket.
All three men have been charged with felony forgery in Linn County District Court.
On Wednesday, police went to two banks to collect counterfeit bills that businesses had deposited. A fake $100 bill was successfully used at a Pancheros restaurant, and a fake $10 bill was used at a Guppy’s on the Go gas station, police said.
In most cases, the counterfeit bills found by police have had a washed out or faded appearance. Many have been in the $10 and $20 denomination, but several fake $100 bills also have been recovered, police said.
All real currency should include a watermark, embedded red and blue fibers and a unique serial number. Money pens are helpful, Randall said, but the fake bills also often have a different texture.
“A lot of businesses will use the pens on the bigger bills, but these, for the most part, haven’t been big bills,” Randall said. “All bills should have the watermark. With the counterfeit bills, a lot of times the texture is off.”