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OKANOGAN – An Okanogan man was charged Oct. 23 with forgery and theft after allegedly passing two counterfeit $100 bills at the Okanogan Family Faire on Oct. 19.

Robert Eugene Curtis, 70, was charged Oct. 23 in Okanogan County Superior Court with two counts of forgery and one count of third-degree theft.

During arraignment Oct. 28, another hearing was set for Nov. 18. Trial is set for Jan. 7 before Superior Court Judge Chris Culp. Judge Henry Rawson has recused himself from the case.

A report by Deputy Terry Schrable accompanied the charges as a probable cause statement. In the report, Schrable wrote that he was sent Oct. 19 to the Okanogan Family Faire, also known as the barter faire, on Cayuse Mountain Road, Tonasket, for a report that a man was passing counterfeit $100 bills.

The suspect had been detained by faire security.

After Schrable read Curtis his Miranda rights, Curtis allegedly told the deputy that he didn’t know the bills were counterfeit.

He allegedly told Schrable he had a medical marijuana card and had taken two pounds of pot to a friend in Utah in late 2018. The friend allegedly suffers from chronic pain. Another man allegedly bought some of the marijuana and paid for it in cash, which he, Curtis, had kept in a safe at home, not knowing it was counterfeit.

Curtis allegedly said he went to the barter faire to give his son, who was camping, some cooking equipment. Curtis allegedly purchased a basket with some of the money, the report said.

The deputy contacted security and learned two vendors had complained about receiving a fake bill and had described a man fitting Curtis’ appearance. They were given a radio by the security team and told to call if they saw the man again.

Schrable then talked to the couple who allegedly sold the fishing basket to Curtis for $20. They alleged Curtis was acting strangely, and as soon as money was exchanged, one of the vendors realized the bill was fake but the suspect had disappeared.

According to Schrable’s report, the vendors produced the bill, which had no watermark, was smaller than standard currency size, was more green in color than a real bill, had non-reflective holographic images and was not the same texture as real money. A currency detector pen left a black mark rather than the amber color that would be left on a real bill.

The deputy compared the bill to $100 bills allegedly taken from Curtis and discovered two serial numbers among many bills, the report said. Barter faire staff also alleged a fake bill had been used by a man for admission to the event.

After they retrieved Curtis’ insulin supplies from his vehicle and home, Schrable took Curtis to jail. Curtis was released Oct. 21 on his own recognizance.

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