Christopher Kern, 30, was arrested Tuesday evening after an off-duty police officer spotted him shopping at Walmart. The officer knew Kern had an active warrant for his suspected role in the counterfeit $100 bills being used around town recently. Seven of the counterfeit bills have been recovered by police, with one being sent to the Secret Service.
When the off-duty officer spotted Kern, he called it into the station, which responded to make an arrest. What ensued was a chase around the sports and toy section at Walmart before a "good Samaritan," as Chief Michael Carillo described him, stepped in to help stop Kern.
The warrant was issued for Kern after police learned through investigation that he is allegedly involved in the counterfeit operation. Chief Carillo says there are other individuals of interest in the case.
"Right now we think it's not a big operation," he said. "But it's big enough that it's causing economic difficulties for retailers and private citizens."
Kern now faces two charges of fraud and failure to register in Luna County as a sex offender.
Police say the counterfeiters are using lower denominations to make the $100 fakes, which can cause problems for retailers using counterfeit detection pens to spot fake bills.
They recommend paying close attention to $100 bills and holding them up to a light.
If you have information on this or any crime, call Crime Stoppers, at 546-7800. Callers remain anonymous. You can also contact the Deming Police Department directly at (575) 546-3011.
Matt Robinson can be reached at email@example.com