Some people have trouble keeping their hobbies down to just one or two things. Derek Jamaal Shaw, 19, a Tampa resident, recently told the Tampa Police Department (TPD) that he is a student at Shear Excellence barber shop. On Twitter, however, he is an aspiring rap artist, and in August, TPD says, he tried his hand at counterfeiting currency and possessing stolen goods taken during a recent burglary in New Tampa.

In early August, TPD received complaints that Shaw was printing and selling money out of his duplex apartment at 1426 E 108th Ave. in Tampa, a half-mile north of University Mall. For the next three weeks TPD, with the assistance of the U.S. Secret Service, conducted an investigation in which Shaw sold counterfeit bills to an undercover agent several times.

With the investigation under way, agents gathered enough evidence for probable cause and a warrant was issued for the search of Shaw’s home on August 22. He had previously written on his Twitter account that he was holding a “big pocket full of yesterday’s money.”

“Members of TPD’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) executed the search warrant because there was the possibility of firearms in the home,” said TPD spokesperson Laura McElroy. “During the search and investigation, officers seized a significant amount of counterfeit currency and equipment used to produce it.”

Shaw was charged with three counts of forging bank bills, three counts of possessing more than 10 counterfeit bills and one count of possessing an instrument used for forging. TPD didn’t say how long Shaw’s operation lasted or how many bills he had produced, but the Secret Service determined that the bills passed throughout Hillsborough County several times. TPD says the bills ranged from $1 bills to $100 bills.

According to McElroy, a 1995 GMC Jimmy SUV was seized during the search, in addition to several laptops, including one that was stolen from a burglary at 10617 Lucaya Dr. in Heritage Isles on August 14, where jewelry and other electronics also were stolen. At our press time, Shaw had not been charged with the burglary although additional charges are pending as TPD is continuing its investigation. Shaw was released from Orient Rd. Jail on August, 25, where he posted bond for his $14,000 bail.

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