Thursday, Aug. 02, 2012
Phony money presented at Harrisonville businesses
Police encourage merchants to stay alert for fake bills
By Bethany Bashioum
The Harrisonville Police Department made an arrest Aug. 1 of a subject suspected of presented counterfeit money at multiple Harrisonville business throughout the week.
Formal charges were expected to be made Aug. 2.
The police had taken at least seven reports of an individual presenting phony money at five Harrisonville businesses during a two-day span.
Three of the reports were taken at McDonald’s, 2101 N. Commercial St., at approximately 3 and 7 p.m. July 29, and 6:05 a.m. July 30.
After the first incident at McDonald’s, fake money was also presented at Meiners Mart, 504 S. Commercial St., at 3:30 p.m. July 29.
Another incident occured at Burger King, 504 S. Commercial St., at 11 p.m. July 30.
Counterfeit bills were also discovered in the bank deposits for Taco Bell, 2010 N. Commercial St., and Sonic, 906. S. Commercial St., by Harrisonville Police July 31.
In each case, phony $20 and $10 bills were used.
“I believe they’re going to be related, but we haven’t tied them together yet,” Lt. Mike Prindle said. “But just the close proximity of time and businesses, I think it’s going to be a good indication that they’re going to be related.”
The suspect was described by witnesses as a white male, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, slender build with dark brown or reddish hair, unshaven with a possible goatee, wearing blue jeans and having numerous tattoos on his arms. He has been seen with a white female or another white male, driving a white Dodge Charger or a dark green Pontiac with license UG5-H5J.
“We’re working with the businesses to develop some video information to identify our bad guy,” Prindle said Monday. “I think two of (the businesses) talked about calling the police and the person turned around and left very quickly. There is definitely suspicion around the person that had the money, so we’re pretty sure they probably knew that they had counterfeit money. We just got to get them ID’ed and go from there.”
Counterfeiting is considered a felony and subjects can be prosecuted at the federal level.
“There are times that if they actually get something, we will pursue a stealing charge because it’s stealing by deceit,” Prindle said. “If they’re able to appropriate services or get change, we’ll turn it into a stealing case.” The case will eventually be turned over to the Secret Service.
Prindle said merchants should keep counterfeit detector pens on hand to check bills.
Detector pens contain an iodine solution that turns black upon contact with the starch in common wood-based paper many counterfeiters use. When the solution is applied to the fiber-based paper used in real bills, no discoloration occurs.
“A lot of times, employees will accept a counterfeit and can tell immediately by the feel of the money it’s not good,” Prindle said. “We definitely encourage employees to question it, get their supervisors or managers involved, and call us immediately.”