TWIN FALLS — A Rupert man helped clear up several unsolved counterfeit cases Wednesday when he admitted to using fake $100 bills at Twin Falls stores during a traffic stop, police said.
Michael Bryan Tripp Jr., 29, now faces four counts of forgery and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Tripp was stopped by Twin Falls police Wednesday night after he made an improper right turn, according to a police affidavit. He seemed nervous, the officer wrote, and said he had been released from the Cassia County jail earlier that day for forgery and burglary charges.
During the stop, Tripp voluntarily told an officer that he had passed multiple counterfeit bills in the Twin Falls area in recent weeks, according to the affidavit.
He said he had used fake $100 bills marked “play money” at Adventure Motor Sports, at the United Oil gas station on Addison Avenue, at Swensen’s Market, and at fireworks stands on Washington Street and in the parking lot of Fred Meyer. Four of the incidents had been previously reported to police by the businesses themselves.
Tripp told police he did not print the bills himself but bought them online on Amazon, according to the affidavit. He said it cost him about $25 to buy $10,000 in counterfeit money and that he had also used the bills in Jerome County and Cassia County.
Stores accepted the bills roughly 35 percent of the time, Tripp told the officers. He said he was able to successfully make purchases at Adventure Motor Sports, United Gas Station, and both fireworks stands, with employees only realizing after he left that they had accepted “play money.”
The cashier at Swensen’s, however, noticed that the bill was fake right away and confiscated it.
A police drug dog also turned up a spoon covered in heroin and bags of syringes in Tripp’s car, police said.
He was jailed on a $50,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 20.