Two cases of counterfeit money were reported over the weekend in Marshalltown.
Heather Lynn Bell, 26, and Tyson Alan Hinders, 26, allegedly attempted to pay for $10 in gas with a counterfeit bill at a Kum and Go on North Third Avenue early Sunday morning. The two allegedly ran when the clerk questioned the bill's legitimacy. Hinders drove away in a pick-up truck, with Bell in the passenger's seat, but each was arrested shortly thereafter. A search of the truck revealed a small bag allegedly containing less than a gram of methamphetamine.
Bell was charged with forgery, a Class D felony; and third-degree theft, an aggravated misdemeanor. Hinders was charged with forgery, a Class D felony; fifth-degree theft, a simple misdemeanor; and possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor.
A phony $20 was accepted Friday at the Casey's on East Main Street but the discovery wasn't made until after the fact. No arrests were made in that case.
Last Wednesday, police arrested Aaron John Frank, 38, after he allegedly tried to pay a clerk at a Marshalltown Casey's with a wad of fake cash.
Capt. Mike Hanken of the Marshalltown Police Department said detectives are uncertain if the cases are connected or if there will be other cases to come.
"This could just be the start," Hanken said. "It's way too early to say."
Hanken advises any business that takes cash to scrutinize bills closely and test any that look suspicious.
Hanken said about half the time in such cases the person attempting to use fake money is unaware themselves that the bills they are carrying are illegitimate.
"Some folks have honestly gotten them from a change drawer," Hanken said.