Following a recent arrest, Anchorage Police say they've seen an uptick in counterfeit bills being circulated locally and want to inform the public on what to look for when using cash. 

Police arrested 42-year-old Wanderson M. Lopes on Sunday morning after attempting to use a fake bill at the Café Darte Expresso located at ChangePoint Church, according to a Nixle alert from APD. Lopes reportedly asked the barista for the tip jar to make change for his $10 bill.

"After producing the jar, Lopes placed a $10 bill inside of it but asked for $5 in return which the barista gave him," APD wrote. "When the employee looked at the $10 bill she noticed it was fake as it felt funny and had the words “only motion picture purposes” written on it."

Once police responded, Lopes was arrested and placed in the back seat of the patrol car. While en route to the Anchorage Jail, his behavior became aggressive. 

"Lopes was yelling, calling the officer names, refusing to comply with the officer’s instructions, and very visibly moving around on the seat," police wrote. "The officer pulled over and took Lopes out of the car after a cover unit arrived."

When backup arrived, officers found multiple counterfeit bills by the door where Lopes was sitting.

He was remanded at the Anchorage Jail for forgery in the first-degree.

Credit: Anchorage Police Department

Police say all denominations of fake money are being passed around. There are several ways to spot them:

  • Some have Turkish words on them
  • Some have Chinese characters on them
  • Some have the words "motion picture" on them

"When you accept money at either a business or as an individual, take an extra moment to make sure the bills both look and feel authentic," APD says.

The Secret Service has an online guide with written and illustrated examples of what to look for in legitimate bills. Read below for their “Know Your Money” document.

Anyone who comes into possession of a counterfeit bill is asked to call Police Dispatch at 786-8900 (press “0”) so an officer may collect the money as evidence.

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