Police: Pair buy pizza with fake bills

A man and a woman from Columbus were arrested after police said they purchased pizza and paid for a motel room using counterfeit money.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has been looking for James Purdue, 20, and Christine Pettit, 29, both of 733 Pearl St., Apt. 2, for more than a month.

On Jan. 3, the owner of the Hilltop Motel, 5351 U.S. 31, Franklin, contacted the sheriff’s office after Purdue paid for their motel stay with a fake $20 and $10 bill, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Detective Damian Katt said. The counterfeit cash was fairly convincing, so it didn’t appear to be fake initially, Katt said.

Even when the owner alerted a sheriff’s deputy to the fake money, he initially thought only one of the bills was fake instead of two, according to the police report.

On the same day, Pettit bought pizza using a counterfeit $20 and two $10 bills, according to the police report. Once the delivery driver returned, a manager spotted the fake cash and contacted the police. The money spent on the pizza and the hotel had the same serial numbers, according to the police report.

Police got a search warrant for the room Purdue and Pettit were staying in. The two had moved out, but left their belongings behind, Katt said. Counterfeit money was found in their motel room, he said.

Both were charged with a felony count of counterfeiting and a warrant was issued for their arrest. They were arrested in Bartholomew County, then moved to the Johnson County jail. Purdue and Pettit are both being held on $1,200 bond.