MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Someone has been passing counterfeit cash in Murfreesboro and several businesses have fallen victim.
A non-profit that helps others was nearly a victim, but employees were able to spot the bogus bills before putting them in the cash register.
The cashiers at the Goodwill store on South Church Street in Murfreesboro check and recheck any bill $20 higher.
Last Thursday, a man was caught on video at the Goodwill attempting to pay for his items with fake $50.
This clerk checked it and called an assistant manager to verify.
“The man then snatched the bill out of the assist manager’s hand and ran out of store,” said Chris Fletcher, Goodwill’s PR and communications manager.
And then on Friday, an older man tried using a fake $20. The clerk called him out on it, and then asked if he had another method of payment.
He then tried using a $50 that was also a fake and left before police could arrive.
“The clerk was on top of her game and prevented a loss at our Goodwill store,” Fletcher told News 2.
But several other businesses here in Murfreesboro did fall victim by accepting those bogus bills.
Someone used 14 fake $50 at the Walmart on Memorial Blvd. Friday to purchase routers for nearly $700.
The two suspects left in a silver late 2000 model Chevrolet Impala.
As in one case at Goodwill, the person changed a $5 bill into a $50 using a method referred to as bleaching.
“It has the genuine feel of real money because it’s on real paper,” Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Todd Hudson told News 2 by phone. “It has the security elements contain into that money.”
The Secret Service works with local law enforcement agents to help fight counterfeiting. It says counterfeit currency is a problem in Tennessee.
It is also working diligently to educate merchants and the public on how to spot counterfeit cash.
“One way that someone in the marketplace can identify this type of bill is to examine and hold the bill up to the light and look at the watermark,” Hudson said. “If the watermark on the right side of the bill doesn’t match the portrait on the front of the bill, you have a counterfeit at that point.”
Goodwill officials say thanks to the keen eye of their clerk, they were prevented from becoming the next victim.
“It’s because our items have been donated and our shoppers are helping to fund our mission of education, training and employment, that we are so diligent keeping an eye out because we need to protect that mission and make sure we are good stewards of the donations people are giving us,” Fletcher said.
Secret Service officials say if you manufacture or pass counterfeit currency you could face a fine and or up to 20 years in prison since it’s a federal offense.
The Secret Service was started in 1865, 150 years ago, by President Abraham Lincoln to combat counterfeit money after the Civil War.
About a third of all currency at that time was counterfeit, according to Hudson.
Combatting counterfeit currency is still one of the agency’s biggest missions today.
The photos attached relate to counterfeit money being passed at the S. Church St. Goodwill over the weekend. Anyone with information about the identity of the suspects can earn up to $1,000 (of real money) for providing information. Call Crime Stoppers at 615-893-7867 or the CID at 615-893-2717.