Duluth man accused of making, passing counterfeit $20sRobert Thomas Whiting, 28, made his first appearance Monday in State District Court in Duluth. He is charged with two felony counts of counterfeiting of currency.
By: Mark Stodghill, Duluth News Tribune
A Duluth man was arrested at a Duluth motel where he was accused of passing two counterfeit $20 bills, leading to the search of the vehicle he was driving and the seizure of equipment used to make the bogus bills.
Robert Thomas Whiting, 28, made his first appearance Monday in State District Court in Duluth. He is charged with two felony counts of counterfeiting of currency.
Officers executed a search warrant of the vehicle Whiting had been driving at the motel. Found in the vehicle, which is registered in his mother’s name, were items used in the reproduction of counterfeit bills, including a paper cutter, a printer, copies of bills that had been copied and a box of paper containing 25 percent cotton, which investigators say is specifically used in production of counterfeit bills due to its appearance and reaction to counterfeit markers.
According to the criminal complaint, a male entered the Holiday Station at 27th Avenue West on July 26 and purchased cigarettes using a $20 bill. A clerk noticed that the bill was counterfeit and wrote down the Minnesota license plate of the vehicle the male left in – 102-EUJ.
A short time later, police received another call of counterfeit bills being passed at the next door Motel 6. The motel manager said that after she took the morning deposit to the bank she received a call from the bank telling her that her deposit included two fake $20 bills. A police officer asked the manager if any of the guests registered had listed a Minnesota plate 102-EUJ.
Another officer recognized the plate number and white Oldsmobile Alero as often being driven by Whiting in previous police calls and reports involving him and the vehicle.
A search warrant was executed in Room 257 and the defendant and three other people were inside. The two females in the room denied having any knowledge of the counterfeit bills and were released. Another male admitted that he had been with Whiting at the Holiday station and had purchased cigarettes with a $20 bill that he was given by the defendant, but he denied knowing that it was counterfeit.
Two $20 bills bearing the same serial numbers as those passed earlier at the motel and station were found in Whiting’s vehicle.
Police viewed a motel video in which Whiting is seen paying for the room with bills from his pocket. An investigator found the empty printer box in Whiting’s vehicle, scanned the UPC label, and sent it in an email to loss prevention officers for various stores in the Twin Ports area. The Hermantown Walmart store confirmed that the printer in the box would have been purchased from their store.
Further investigation of store video and still photos from Walmart captured Whiting purchasing the printer and leaving the store with it under his arm and getting into the white Oldsmobile Alero on July 25.