A Kelowna man is in custody for allegedly making and possessing counterfeit money.
Vernon North Okanagan RCMP say the 35-year-old was arrested on Monday afternoon, following numerous reports of an individual passing on fake Canadian currency throughout the area.
The reports, say police, were filed over the last several weeks, but officers received a break in the case on Monday morning.
READ MORE: Fake bills circulating in Central Okanagan
According to police, a man used a counterfeit bill at a business on the 4500 block of 27th Street in Vernon. The clerk reported the 6:30 a.m. incident to police, who seized the bill while obtaining a description of the suspect and his vehicle.
Four hours later, police say a citizen reported a possible impaired driver, with the licence plate and vehicle matching the description from the 6:30 a.m. incident.
Police say by the time officers arrived on scene, the vehicle had left the downtown area, and couldn’t be found.
However, at 4 p.m., police were told the vehicle had returned to the area of 30th Avenue and 31st Street, and an officer found the vehicle unoccupied.
“The police officer decided set up surveillance on the vehicle in hopes the driver would return,” said Cpl. Tania Finn. “Fortunately, our officer did not have to wait too long, as he saw an individual matching the description from the earlier fraud exit a business on 30th Avenue.”
Police say as officers approached the man, he ran into the store and attempted to escape through a different exit, but was arrested without incident.
They added that while searching the suspect, police found instruments and tools used to create counterfeit currency, as well as several hundred dollars in fake bills in a variety of denominations.
“Police followed up with the business (he had just exited) and learned the suspect had, once again, used fake bills to purchase merchandise,” West Kelowna RCMP said in a press release.
West Kelowna RCMP noted that other area businesses may have received fake currency. They said to determine if a bill is real or fake:
- look closely at the hologram to ensure the denomination matches the denomination on the bill
- examine the edges of the bill to determine if it is poorly cut and not uniform
- feel the bill to check smoothness, that it is not waxy or rough.
They also advise that any suspect bills can be verified by a bank.
If your business has fallen victim to this fraud, you are asked to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at 250-545-7171.