Photo by Lincoln County Detention Center
Cody T. Howard
A North Platte man was charged with counterfeiting Friday after he allegedly tried to pass a phony bill at a liquor store.Police said they found rudimentary counterfeiting equipment in the home of Cody Howard, 26, on West Sixth.
According to the police report, an officer went to Starting Gate Liquors at 8:15 p.m. Friday to check out a report of a man paying with a counterfeit $10 bill.
The store employee said the $10 bill looked fake, and a counterfeit detector pen at the store also indicated it was a phony, Police Spokesman John Deal said.
A detector pen changes colors when you draw a line across a suspect bill, turning amber to indicate genuine currency and black or dark brown to indicate counterfeit currency.
So the man paid with another form of cash, but the clerk noticed he had more than one fake $10 bill, according to the police report.
The clerk got his license plate number and description, and officers found the vehicle in the 600 block of East 10th.
When they spoke with Howard, he confirmed that he was recently at the Starting Gate, and he also gave officers consent to look inside his home, Deal said.
Police found a printer in the basement along with pieces of paper that had $10 bills printed on them, Deal said.
They also found some $1 bills that appeared to have been "bleached,” Deal said, to remove existing markings. Investigators believe Howard was printing $10 bills on bleached $1 bills.
Howard was charged with first-degree forgery and taken to the Lincoln County jail. Bond is set at $25,000. When he was arrested, he'd been out of jail for 10 days, after serving nearly two months for meth possession.
Bleaching bills is an old trick, done with lye or degreaser, according to crime reporter Justin Peters of Slate magazine. The idea is to print counterfeit bills on the right "paper," which is not paper at all, but a cotton type material with colored fibers.
Howard had no sophisticated equipment, Deal said.
Even the best counterfeit money isn’t very good -- the colors are off, or the paper feels weird, or the security features don’t exactly match up, Peters wrote in a 2013 Slate article.
“No matter how much effort you put into your fakery, you’ll still end up with a product that will only fool people who are drunk, distracted, or dead,” Peters wrote.
"It's extremely difficult to get a really good genuine looking bill," he said. "Out of all the counterfeits I've viewed, I've never seen a really good one."
In other weekend police action, Rachel Biggs, 32, of North Platte was arrested for meth possession after a lab test confirmed the presence of meth residue in a syringe found Feb. 8 in motel room where Biggs and a male companion had stayed.
Biggs and man were disruptive, so management told them to leave the motel. Deal said police collected the syringe before the room was cleaned and sent it to the Nebraska Crime Lab to be tested.
At 11:11 a.m. Monday, police arrested Biggs at her home in the 200 block of East 11th, Deal said. She was taken into custody without trouble.
Also, on Saturday, March 25, police received an anonymous tip that Danielle Blake, 31, was at the Wal-Mart Super Center. Blake was wanted for two felonies in Custer County, as well as possession of a controlled substance and failure to appear in Lincoln County.
She was contacted inside of Wal-Mart and arrested with no further trouble, Deal said.