The Woodward News

Local News

January 29, 2011

WPD investigating counterfeit cases

Woodward, Okla. — Woodward police are investigating a recent rash of counterfeiting complaints.

"We probably have about a dozen different incidents right now," said Det. Lt. Chuck Wheeler.  "That's quite a bit."

The detective said the series of counterfeit cases began in December.  But the pace seems to be picking up as 5 of those cases cropped up just in this past week.

On Monday morning, police received 2 back to back calls on counterfeit $10 bills, one from a local bank and another from a local convenience store.

Another Woodward convenience store called about another fake $10 bill on Wednesday.

Police then made an arrest on Thursday after a woman allegedly attempted to pass off a counterfeit $100 bill at yet another convenience store.

Wheeler said the fifth complaint of the week came from a bank who discovered yet another fake $10 bill on Friday while going through deposits.

THE ARREST

The detective said that Angela Watt, 48, of Woodward, who was the woman arrested Thursday, is the first person to be charged in connection with the recent counterfeiting activity.

Watt was charged Friday with a felony count of uttering a forged instrument.

She was arrested in front of the 25th Street Jiffy Trip around noon Thursday after store clerk Tracy Hunter called police to report the suspicious bill.

Hunter said that Watt attempted to purchase cigarettes and a pop with the money, but "no products were exchanged."

Because almost as soon as Watt handed over the $100 bill, Hunter said she could tell "it was pretty obvious" that it was a fake.

The store clerk said she confirmed the bill was fake by "holding it up to the light to check for watermarks" that weren't there.

Hunter said she then called police and kept Watt detained until officers were able to arrive.

When asked if she was nervous about trying to detain Watt, Hunter said, "No, I was just doing my job."

However, she said this is the first time that she's ever handled a counterfeit issue.

But it wasn't the first time a counterfeit bill came through that store, Hunter said, noting "we had one several weeks ago, but another clerk dealt with that one."

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