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Police: Beware fake bills, forged checks

Police: Beware fake bills, forged checks
BAIN SERNA Can you tell the difference? The top bill is the real thing.

LA VERNIA Police here are warning merchants to beware of counterfeit paper currency. An investigation continues into reports of counterfeit $20 bills being used in area establishments.

Chief Bruce Ritchey and other officers from the La Vernia Police Department have been making the rounds to the city’s shopkeepers to alert them of the problem. The officers will have counterfeit detection pens equipped with an ultraviolet light, which are capable of detecting the security features contained in an authentic bill.

Ritchey said the bills, which began being passed at the La Vernia High School football games and a local convenience store, cannot be detected by a traditional counterfeit detection pen. He urges all merchants to purchase the new pens, and to contact police if someone attempts to pass fake bills in their establishments.

In a separate case, Officer Tracy McBlain of the La Vernia Police Department and Detective George Ortiz of the Floresville Police Department arrested Jon Mykal Morales, 35, of San Antonio Jan. 5. Morales was the subject of three arrest warrants two from Floresville and one from La Vernia charging him with forgery of a financial instrument. According to jail records, he is being held in the Wilson County Jail on a total of $30,000 bond.

Ortiz said the two officers located and arrested Morales in Bexar County. He is alleged to be one of a pair of suspects who were attempting to cash fraudulent checks in H-E-B supermarkets in Floresville and La Vernia.

Morales’ alleged accomplice Toni Lee Hanley, 50, of Denton is still at large. Hanley is described as a white female standing 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighing 130 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She drives a white Dodge Charger with the Texas license plate MKW-173.

Ortiz said Jan. 11 that Hanley is believed to still be writing forged checks in the area. She is considered dangerous, because of a violent criminal history spanning more than three decades.

Anyone with information about Hanley’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Wilson County at 830-393-INFO (4636) or All Crime Stoppers tips remain anonymous and can lead to a cash reward if the information leads to an arrest.

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