Police charge Springfield man who allegedly passed counterfeit $100 bills

By MICHAEL MAJCHROWICZ

@mjmajchrowicz

Published: 04-05-2017 5:03 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Police charged a Springfield man in connection with a string of reports, all in the same day, involving the passing of several counterfeit $100 bills.

Robert M. Walter, 45, faces three counts each of uttering a counterfeit note and possessing a counterfeit note, as well as two counts of larceny less than $250, all charges to which he pleaded not guilty last Friday in Northampton District Court after he was summonsed for his arraignment. As of April 3, Walter remains in custody at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction on $1,500 bail, court staff said. He’s expected back for pretrial proceedings April 21.

The counterfeit bills in question pass the so-called marker test with no issue, authorities said, because the bills themselves are manufactured from actual $10 bills. But when held to the light, the watermark portrait of Alexander Hamilton appears to the right of the bill’s center image.

Police said Walter successfully handed off two $100 bills — once at Liquors 44 on King Street where he purchased a 12-pack of Busch Light, worth $11.59, and the other at Cumberland Farms, also on King Street, where he bought $4 worth of lottery tickets, according to a police report, pocketing $88.41 and $96, respectively, in cash for the transactions.

Walter allegedly tried to make another relatively small purchase, a pack of batteries, at Walgreens, also on King Street. The store clerk, however, suspected the note of being fake and refused to accept it, police said.

Before Walter was charged, Northampton police circulated surveillance photos of a black male wearing a gray winter hat, a navy blue jacket and jeans and who appears to be middle-aged. Several callers who phoned police identified Walter as the man in the photos and provided a home address, according to the report.

Authorities said they heard from as far away as Enfield, Connecticut in which a Barnes & Noble staffer, on March 1, reported that a man matching the provided description attempted to return a NOOK reading tablet to the store.

The same staffer told police that a Holyoke Barnes & Noble staffer called to advise they believed a NOOK had been purchased with a counterfeit $100 bill, in the event the customer attempted to refund the item at a different store. Walter was trespassed from the Enfield store, police said.

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Previously, in January, police were also investigating multiple reports of an individual attempting to pass $20 bills at one of the same businesses that were a part of this investigation.

Police said these reported incidents are not being investigated jointly.

Correction: This story has been revised to reflect that the defendant, Robert M. Walter, was summonsed to court for his arraignment. He was not arrested.

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.

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