MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hasting Police working with federal agents help shut down an alleged counterfeiter. He was operating out of an RV in a secluded, wooded area.
Steven Kuhns, 49, is charged with five counts of counterfeiting currency. Officers found fake bills, printers and blank checks inside a RV that was reported stolen.
It started when Hastings Police got a tip from Red Wing Police about a man they believed was passing fake bills in the east metro. It didn’t take officers long to track down Kuhns, who was living in the RV about seven blocks from the police station — a short, 2-minute drive from downtown.
“It was parked it was in a private lot in a wooded area,” Hastings Chief Bryan Schafer said. “There was an automobile that was parked next to the RV that belonged to Kuhns and just walking up next to it there were printers sitting on the front seat.”
According to Schafer, Officers surrounded the vehicle and demanded Kuhns come out.
“It took a couple of hours,” he said. “They made contract around 3:30 in the morning and I think it was close to 6 o’clock they had convinced him to come out.”
Once in custody, Chief Shafer called federal agents to help.
“They sent someone down help guide us through the drafting of the search warrant, and ultimately came down and worked with us side-by-side in going through the RV,” Schafer said.
Inside, officers and agents found enough evidence to charge Kuhns with three counts of counterfeiting currency, one count of receiving stolen property and obstructing the legal process.
“I believe there was over $7,000 worth of printed counterfeit bills, partially printed counterfeit bills — meaning it was a half a sheet, some printed on one side, maybe not on both,” Schafer said.
Police don’t know how long Kuhns has been operating in the area, but they believe he may have been spreading fake bills across the metro.
“We believe that he potentially has made transactions in at least a dozen cities in the metro area, mostly the east metro, including Pierce County, Wisconsin,” Schafer said.
Schafer believes more than 30 business in about a dozen different cities received the fake bills. Most were $50 and $100 bills, but Kuhns was found to be in possession of fake $5, $10 and $20 bills as well. Investigators also determined the RV he was in was reported stolen last year from a small town in Iowa.
If you think you have one of these fake bills call police.