Vernon RCMP kicked off Fraud Prevention month with the arrest of a Kelowna man allegedly involved in counterfeiting Canadian currency.
Numerous reports have been made over the past several weeks of a person using fake bills to make purchases throughout the area, Vernon RCMP said in a press release Tuesday, March 3.
On Monday, police made a breakthrough in the investigation. At 6:30 a.m., RCMP say a man used a counterfeit bill at a business in the 4500 block of 27th Street in Vernon.
The clerk reported the incident to police, who seized the fake bill and left with a description of the suspect and his vehicle. Then, at 10:30 a.m., another report came in from a citizen who reported a possible impaired driver. The license plate and vehicle matched the clerk’s earlier description.
Officers arrived on scene but the vehicle had since left the downtown area. But by 4 p.m. police were told the vehicle had returned to the area of 30th Avenue and 31st Street. Police returned to find the vehicle vacant.
“The police officer decided set up surveillance on the vehicle in hopes the driver would return, said Cpl. Tania Finn, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.
“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.”
As police approached the man he attempted to evade them by re-entering the store. Police were able to arrest him without incident.
After the arrest was made, a police search uncovered instruments and tools used to create counterfeit currency as well as several hundred dollars of counterfeit Canadian currency in a variety of denominations.
Police say the 35-year-old man from Kelowna is in custody and facing numerous charges including making and possessing counterfeit money.
Police say there may be other businesses in the area that have been paid in fake bills, and advise owners to look closely at the hologram on a bill to ensure the denomination matches the denomination on the bill. People can also examine the edge of the bill to see if it is poorly cut, and feel the bill to check its smoothness.
Suspicious bills can be verified by a bank. Businesses that have been affected by fraud are asked to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP non-emergency line of 250-545-7171 to report the incident.