In a short period of time, a 17-year-old went to multiple Edinburgh stores with fake cash.
In a couple of instances, the employees noticed the $100 bills were fake, but at least two times, they didn’t.
Police caught up with the teen and took him to the juvenile detention center. They found out he had recently been released from a juvenile center in Hamilton County on similar charges. And police said they know he won’t be the last person to try to pass counterfeit cash.
Across the county, police say calls about counterfeit money from retail stores spike, then drop off.
In Franklin, nearly 30 reports have been made this year. And in Edinburgh, police are getting reports as often as once a week, Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann said.
Often, as police suspect in this week’s case, the people trying to spend the money are not making the counterfeits, Mann said. They are usually hired by someone else, who splits whatever they make off using the bills to make small purchases, and then getting real cash in exchange for the purchase, he said.
He has seen people come to Edinburgh Premium Outlets, and other areas off Interstate 65, in groups and without a vehicle so they can easily run from police, he said.
“It is organized crime anymore,” Mann said.
With newer printing technology, making counterfeit bills is not as difficult as it had been in the past. And counterfeiters have gotten smart and know how they can get the bills to pass at least some of the checks businesses do, he said.
For example, at two of the Edinburgh Premium Outlets stores, the cashier checked the bill using a marker that shows up differently with counterfeit cash, and the bills passed that test, the reports said.
That’s why cashiers have to look for the other signs of counterfeiting, such as not having a hologram or security thread, which one cashier noticed and refused to accept the cash, the report said.
But those checks take time, and counterfeiters will often try to find store workers who are busy so they may not have as much time to thoroughly check the cash, Mann said.
In this case, a store employee called police after rejecting a counterfeit bill from the teen and then seeing him going into other stores Monday night. Officers stopped him, and he ran, but they caught up to him, handcuffed him and took him to the juvenile detention center, the report said. They found at least four bills all with the same serial number that were counterfeit.
When police called the teen’s mother about the incident, she told them she was not surprised, since he had recently been released from the Hamilton County juvenile detention center on similar charges, the report said.