As optimism over last week’s low number of reported criminal offenses gave reason to celebrate, this week the celebration is over.
Criminal offenses in all categories surged upward, including three reports of theft, two of which were theft of checks, one burglary of a building, one burglary of a residence, one assault of a family member, seven reports of possession of controlled substances, one report of criminal mischief, one report of unlawful carrying of a weapon, and two forgeries.
One offense of failure to register as a sex offender was also reported.
Topping off the list were two separate reports of possession of counterfeit bills, one $10 bill and two $20 bills.
Copperas Cove police were busy.
The crime of possession of counterfeit currency rears its ugly head frequently in Copperas Cove.
In my experience, the possessor of the counterfeit bill is frequently not the criminal, but the victim of the criminal, who managed to successfully pass counterfeit currency into the retail establishment, and the counterfeit bill is subsequently unwittingly given to a customer as change.
If you suspect you may have unwittingly acquired a counterfeit bill, any bank is able to verify the genuineness of the bill.
Central Texas seems to be a bastion for the production, sale and use of methamphetamines.
We have seen an upswing in this criminal offense in recent years in Copperas Cove. We frequently see reports of thefts in our local area of chemicals used in the manufacture of this dangerous drug.
I have noted with a considerable degree of accuracy over the years that drug usage spawns other criminal activity, such as those crimes that yield a means to procure drugs.
Burglaries, including those that yielded the criminal personal checks not his own this week, resulted in additional charges of forgery by passing being levied against him.
We have witnessed an increased forgery by passing offenses in the recent past, indicating an upward trend in this crime.
This crime is usually perpetrated by a thief who comes across the checks during the commission of another crime such as burglary.
We can protect ourselves by destroying old or unused checks and safeguarding those we intend to use.
The offense of failing to register as a sex offender has ramifications that transcend the inconvenience to the offender.
Neighborhood residents have the right to know who resides among them for the protection of themselves and their families. I have seen numerous accounts of recidivism by sex offenders against neighbors, when the victims were unaware of the offender living among them. Knowledge is power.
If you have information pertaining to these or any other crimes in Copperas Cove, contact the Copperas Cove Police Department at 254-547-8222.
John Vander-Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement serving more than 20 years with state police and more than a decade with city law enforcement.