‘Funny money’ surfaces in Ahoskie

Published 11:21 am Friday, May 28, 2010

AHOSKIE – Local business owners have been advised to be on the lookout for “funny money.”

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said three counterfeit 100 dollar bills have been passed at businesses in town. All three are unique in nature as Fitzhugh said the counterfeiter has somehow transformed a real five-dollar bill into a one-hundred dollar bill.

“I can’t tell you how it’s done…but it looks and feels like the real McCoy,” Fitzhugh said. “The feel is going to be the same because it’s actually printed, in some fashion, over top of a real five-dollar bill. I guess with that said, the special pens used by local merchants to identify a phony bill will not work in this case.”

Fitzhugh said the first fake bill surfaced on Friday, May 14. The second and third bills were reported on Friday, May 21. He added that all were passed at businesses on Academy Street and Memorial Drive.

“We do have a report of a fourth attempt to pass a phony hundred, but the clerk at that business refused to accept the bill,” Fitzhugh said.

To date, there is no description of a suspect or suspects.

“Store clerks and business owners are telling me they accept so many large bills that it’s hard to keep up with whom they came from,” Fitzhugh noted.

Armed with one of the phony bills, Fitzhugh, APD Lt. Jeanette Mathias and other local officers have been busy visiting local businesses in an effort to make them aware of the situation.

“We’ve been showing one of the fake bills around town to make our local businesses aware of this attempt to pass counterfeit money,” Fitzhugh said. “We’ve hit most of our places of business.”

Based on the first two reports, Fitzhugh said it appears that Friday is the popular day for the counterfeiter to pass the funny money.

During his rounds to the local businesses, Fitzhugh has passed along some advice.

“Look over these bills carefully,” he said. “The US Treasury has printed a series of watermarks in these bills. Make sure you check these special markings and also looked for blurred printing on the bills. If suspicious, make note of the person attempting to pass the bill and share that information with us or any law enforcement agency. By no means should a clerk attempt to hold a person. We just need the information on the description of the person attempting to pass the bill or a description of the vehicle they are driving.”

Fitzhugh said he will contact the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, Murfreesboro Police and Bertie County law enforcement agencies in order to make them aware of the fake money in Ahoskie.

APD Major Jimmy Asbell will mail the fake bills to the United States Secret Service.