Counterfeit bills reported in Sandpoint

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

A wave of counterfeit $20 bills have been reported in various locations around Sandpoint and Sagle.

The first reports of the fake bills came Saturday morning after Sandpoint Farmers’ Market vendors noticed something was off with a $20 bill that was accepted at a vendor booth.

“I was in my booth and selling to a friend,” said vendor Jennifer Wood. “I went to give change for a $50 and felt the $20 bill and noticed it felt weird. I noted to my friend that it felt weird.”

Wood said she had taken the bill from a woman with a swastika tattoo on her left breast.

Wood’s husband Nathan, also a vendor at the Market, had also taken a $20 bill from the woman.

“He didn’t want to argue with her, because she had a special needs kid with her, but he thought it looked weird,” Wood said. “He took it to the bank right away, and they said it was counterfeit.”

Nathan immediately called Sandpoint Police, then talked to the other vendors at the Market and collected other suspect twenties.

“Within seven or eight minutes, we were up to $360 in twenties she had spent,” Wood said.

Sandpoint Police responded to the scene and confiscated the phony bills.

The suspect was identified by another vendor as a woman who was 5 feet and 6 or 7 inches, around 130-140 pounds with mousy brown hair, a piercing above her left eyebrow, a piercing on her lip and a tattoo of a swastika on her left breast with a lightning bolt through it.

According to the vendor, she was accompanied by a child of 11 or 12 years old who was wearing a soft helmet commonly used for medical purposes.

Wood said the $20 bills reportedly had a blue tint to them and felt different than normal U.S. currency.

“They felt kind of like flannel, I guess,” Wood said. “They just felt ‘off.’”

The Sandpoint Police did not respond immediately to request for comment.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information surfaces.

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