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Grand Forks banks turn up fake bills

Sgt. Brett Johnson holds up a counterfeit $20 above a real one Friday afternoon in his office. Five $10, one $20 and one $100 counterfeit bills have been confiscated recently. (Sarah Kolberg/Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS -- Authorities are wondering if there's a link between more than a half-dozen counterfeit bills discovered in Grand Forks this month.

Nearly all the bogus bills were detected at banks after businesses -- including bars, restaurants and a bowling alley -- had deposited them, Sgt. Brett Johnson said.

Johnson said the bills found at banks have different serial numbers, but have all been 10s or 20s. The consistency of the denominations suggests to Johnson that the bills are being produced by the same person or group. But, he added, it's too early to know for sure.

The discoveries of fake bills at banks include:

- Two $10 bills at Bremer Bank, 3100 Columbia Road S., on Thursday.

- A $10 bill and a $20 bill in separate deposits at Bremer Bank, 921 Washington St. N., on Monday.

- A $10 bill at Riverfork Federal Credit Union, 711 N. Washington St., on Jan. 20.

- A $10 bill at Frandsen Bank & Trust, 1616 Washington St. S., on Jan. 15.

The one exception occurred Jan. 13 at McDonald's, 2910 32nd Ave. S., where a teenager tried to pay using a fake $100 bill. When the cashier became suspicious, the teen took off. Because it was a counterfeit $100, Johnson said, he doesn't believe that bill is linked to the others.

Johnson said the Grand Forks Police Department will handle the initial investigations before turning the cases over to the U.S. Secret Service. So far, no arrests have been made.