Two men returning to a Medford motel Saturday afternoon allegedly to retrieve a bag of counterfeit cash they'd forgotten found officers already on the scene, Medford police said.
Both suspects fled before police caught and arrested one, whom they identified as Adam Kyle Bennett, 24, no address given. Bennett was arrested on 10 counts of first-degree forgery, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and a probation violation stemming from past drug charges, police said. His bail was set at $120,000, but he was no longer listed in the Jackson County Jail Monday, jail records show.
Police know the other man's identity but have not yet released it. His name will be released if a grand jury indicts him, police said.
Police responded to the Motel 6 at 950 Alba Drive shortly after 1:30 p.m. Saturday after being contacted by hotel staff. Motel employees had found a large bag containing more than $3,000 worth of counterfeit money in the room after the two men had checked out, police said.
"(They) must have forgotten the bag of money that was in one of the nightstand drawers," said Lt. Mike Budreau.
The money included various denominations. The bills were printed on the wrong type of paper and lacked the security strip and ghost watermark, police said.
When the men drove up in a Jeep Cherokee and discovered police at the motel, they jumped out of the car and fled to another motel nearby, police said. The two then ran to the baseball fields near Bear Creek Park, where Bennett was found and arrested after being interviewed by police. The Jeep contained computer equipment, which authorities planned to inspect after obtaining a search warrant, police said.
Police said counterfeiting cases have jumped 72 percent in Medford in the first eight months of 2013, to 268, compared with 155 during the same period last year.
"This is actually a rather significant arrest. We've been dealing with a lot of cases this year," Budreau said. "We're hoping this arrest will make an impact on all of the counterfeit cases we've had this year."
Several businesses and banks have seen counterfeit bills, typically lower denominations that are given less scrutiny by clerks.
"We're usually not seeing anything above a $20," Budreau said.
Police said an agent from the U.S. Secret Service is helping with the ongoing investigation.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.