Counterfeiters strike Solon fast-food restaurants

Suspects try to pass phony bills

SOLON, Ohio - Solon Police Lieutenant Bruce Felton examined five, ten, and twenty dollar bills Friday, explaining in visual detail for Newschannel 5 cameras how to determine a currency's authenticity. Most phony bills will not have the sharp detail compared to the real thing. "Most bill images may have a softer, out-of-focus look to them," said Felton.

"The first thing to check is the feel of it. Real money has a distinct feel to it, unlike most paper. You can even feel the ridges, or the texture of the ink on most new bills," said Felton. "They are also color-coded on the new bills. You can tilt them to see a color shift from copper to green, to black."

Police say local Solon merchants have been struck by counterfeiters in the last few weeks. Bills have shown up at the McDonalds and Chipotle restaurants on Aurora Road and the Taco Bell/KFC on Enterprise Parkway.

"Most have been fast-food restaurants for some reason," said Felton. "The first report we had was someone passing fifty dollar bills and M.F.S. Supply on Solon Road in late October and we actually made an arrest on that one. But, lately most have been the fast-food establishments being hit by fake twenty dollar bills."

Felton says that while most fake bills are crudely made on personal printers, some can be hard to distinguish. Felton adds that counterfeiters will sometimes use real bills for the proper texture, then bleach its smaller bill denomination image until the ink is nearly gone, then print a twenty or fifty dollar denomination over what image is left.

"Real bills are very intricate in the way the are made. You almost need a magnifying glass to see all the detail them, but an easy way to check is with a flashlight. With light shined from behind the newer bills you should see a vertical strip that clearly spells out the bill's proper denomination. Another good tip is to the right of newer bills is almost a hologram when viewed with a light from behind. It should be an image the same face that is seen on the face of the center of the bill," said Felton.

Deepak Patl manages the D&M Convenient store on Aurora Road next to the McDonalds. He has not seen any phony bills so far, but says he is very diligent about checking for them.

"We have to be very careful because if we get them we lose our money. We do not get new money, we lose everything," said Patl. "i used to work in Georgia and I saw a lot of counterfeit bills there, but so far none here. I'm crossing my fingers, I don't want to see them either."

Police reports state that Taco Bell workers caught the phony twenty bill before food was given, called police, but the suspects fled before officers arrived. So far, only the suspect in the first counterfeit report has been identified and arrested.

Solon police asks that If anyone needs more information, or finds a possible counterfeit bill in their possession, they may be contacted at (440) 248-1234, or go to www.solonohio.org

You may also visit them on their social network sites at: http://www.solonohio.org/index.aspx?NID=92 

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