Oak Island police warn of counterfeit bills after arrest

Fake currency is circulating in Oak Island; man arrested

OAK ISLAND, N.C. (WECT) - The Oak Island Police Department is asking for people to check for markings on bills after a man was arrested for allegedly using fake money.

Robert Midgley was arrested on 11 felony charges for allegedly “passing this funny money.” Police say he used a fake $100 bill at the Food Lion to purchase a small amount of groceries and left with close to $95 in change.

The suspect successfully got change back from the store twice before a clerk realized the bill wasn’t real and called police.

Police only have reports of the bills being used at Food Lion, but they’re urging businesses to be vigilant because of the chance there could be more.

Oak Island police say they see calls of this nature regularly. Movie money, like the bills in this particular case can easily be bought online.

The money looks pretty convincing at first glance, but if you take a closer look, you see it has “Motion Picture Use Only” written on the back.

“It could be something as simple as the texture feels strange on the money, the cropping center of the picture could be off on the money, the paper size itself could be strange, in this case, with the movie money it could be very realistic and have the words replica or copy wrote on it… if you see more than one bill they might have the same serial number. Be vigilant and don’t rely solely on the marking pen,” said Lt. Franklin Cooke of the Oak Island Police Department.

Oak Island PD warns use of fake money.
Oak Island PD warns use of fake money. (Source: Oak Island Police Department)

Word of the counterfeit money arrest spread quickly to business owners on the Island. The real cash taken from stores when people use fake bills is money they cant get back.

“The business is out of that money. If you give $100 and you bought five dollars in groceries the business is out $95 of good money,” said Lt. Cooke.

Kathy Martin is a cashier at Bubba’s Gift Shop and says she’s looking at the money she takes extra carefully after the recent arrest. Local businesses are vulnerable right now, between the pandemic and the hurricane.

“Anything from $20 up, I’ve been checking," said Kathy Martin. "The coronavirus has killed these small businesses, then somebody bringing that into you, I could wipe you out.”

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