Police are trying to track down a man who has been using fake money in at least seven stores in the Westerville area.
“We get $20’s in a lot and we never had this issue before,” said Java Central employee Necia McFadden. “It's really surprising for the area because most of the customers who come in are people we see regularly on a daily basis, people who we get to know who live in the area.”
McFadden said a co-worker was behind the counter one day when someone used fake cash to buy coffee, but wasn't caught.
Police said it's been happening over and over. “They won’t stop. They'll keep doing it as long as they can,” said Lt. Paul Scowden, Westerville Police.
Police said the crimes typically happened in the afternoon or evening, with surveillance images showng a similar looking man at the counter with the fake cash.
“He keeps it in a different pocket. He will pull a bill, whether it will be a $10 or a $20 out of his pocket and he kind of crumples it up, folds it up, pulls out his wallet then sticks it inside his wallet,” said Lt. Scowden.
It’s been caught on camera at a Jersey Mike’s in Blendon Township and a Tan Pro in Westerville.
It's not just businesses feeling the burden of counterfeit cash, police say one man used a real $50 to buy something at a Certified gas station. He got fake cash back and only discovered it when he went to use it later.
Westerville detectives think it's the same person or people connected to the crimes.
Scowden said they arrested someone over the weekend for using a counterfeit $50, but said that person is not connected to these crimes.
He said they take it seriously, as it can be considered a federal offense. If you suspect counterfeit cash, report it to your local police.
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