One arrested in counterfeit plot
“We’ve probably had 30 instances of phony $20s, and about $600 has been passed,” Police Lt. J. D. Newlin said.
The Secret Service, part of the U. S. Treasury Department, was alerted and is actively assisting police.
“About all we’re able to say right now is that we have leads and are pursuing them,” Newlin said.
Angela Marie Whitlow, 23, of Rockdale, was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with forgery of a government document in connection with the investigation.
She remains in the Milam County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bond.
“This arrest came afer we received word somone had tried to pass a phony $20-bill at Gill’s Shop-N-Go,” Newlin said.
“The subject left that convenience store, then apparently went right down the street about one-half block and tried to pass what we believe to have been the same $20 at USA Foodmart,” he said.
Police, who had been alerted by store employees, made the arrest.
Convenience stores have been the favorite targets for the counterfeiters but the phony money has turned up in other places.
“We had a couple of bills passed at a Rockdale basketball game,” Newlin said.
“This is very out of the ordinary,” Newlin said. “We’ll get an occaional fake bill but all of this happened within the space of about a week. It’s obvious Rockdale is a target.”
‘Don’t give it back’
What can merchants do to avoid being ripped off by the funny money folks?
“Keep an eye on the bills you’re getting,” Newlin said. “Most of these have a serial number that starts with ‘GK.’ If you get one of those you should be suspicious immediately.
“Call us at 446-3436 immediately,” he said. “Don’t give the bill back and don’t make change.
“If they tell you they don’t want to wait for the police to show up that’s pretty good proof it’s a counterfeit bill,” Newlin said.