BANGOR, Maine — The investigation into about two dozen counterfeit $20 bills used at area convenience stores may lead investigators out of state.
“Right now, we’re kind of leaning toward the theory that they might have come from out of state,” state police Trooper David Yankowsky said Tuesday of an investigation that began late last week when bogus bills began surfacing mostly at convenience stores and gas stations.
Police have recovered nearly $500 worth of fake $20 bills in the Bangor area, including Glenburn, since Thursday of last week, the trooper said.
Yankowsky said Tuesday that he since has learned that other counterfeit $20s have been showing up in the Portland area, including at least one bill with the same serial number as one that was recovered in the Bangor area.
Yankowsky said earlier this week that the copies are of relatively high quality, adding that they even passed a counterfeit detection pen test. He said, however, that the bills felt stiffer than usual to the touch.
He said that the counterfeit bills recovered thus far have at least three different serial numbers and that they lack the watermark and embedded plastic security strip found on recently printed real $20 bills.
Though investigators had a suspect early on in the investigation, the warrant search of that person’s home turned up more fake $20s but none of the equipment that would be used in counterfeiting.
He said the suspect was being cooperative and that police now believe that person “ultimately probably had no idea” that the money he had was counterfeit when he spent some of it at local businesses.
Yankowsky also said that the Secret Service, which has jurisdiction for investigations involving counterfeit U.S. money and securities, has been notified and is involved in the effort to track down who made the bills.