Large amount of counterfeit money found along U.S. 701

ELIZABETHTOWN — Lawmen with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office and White lake Police Department were flush with money Sunday morning — but it was all as worthless as Monopoly money.

According to Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker, the county’s 911 Center received a number of calls at around 10 a.m. claiming there were people out on U.S. 701 North near White Lake picking up paper money from along the roadway.

“Our dispatchers were getting calls of people in the roadway, including children grabbing what appeared to be money from the roadway and impeding traffic,” said McVicker. “… although there were no people around when (lawmen) arrived, they did find money on the highway and the shoulders of the road.”

McVicker said the officers collected a total of $34,465 in fake U.S. currency in several denominations — including $100, $20, $10 and $5 bills.

“We have no idea where the money came from,” he said. “We have notified the U.S. Secret Service for assistance and will continue to investigate.”

McVicker added that some of the bills were obviously counterfeit but some were more sophisticated and could have passed for real currency if the person taking the money was not alert.

He urged anyone who might have picked some of the money up to bring it to the Sheriff’s Office. He also urged local merchants to be particularly careful when accepting large denominations of currency.

“We have no idea how much of this fake money was picked up before law enforcement was notified and arrived on the scene,” McVicker said.