A man tried to buy groceries at the Master Bread Thrift Store, at 400-20th Ave. SW near its intersection with South Broadway, with a counterfeit $20 bill Monday afternoon, according to Minot police.
The bill was detected by counterfeit detection pens that "leave a yellowish mark if the bill is real, but leave a black mark if it's fake," said an employee of the store who wished to remain anonymous. The store had purchased the pens locally following another counterfeit money incident a few weeks ago. The store had not known they had received a counterfeit bill until they tried to deposit it at their bank.
The man who tried to pass of the counterfeit bill was described as "an older man, very nice," by the employee and is not considered a counterfeiting suspect by the police.
Flint McColgan/MDN • A manager at a local store demonstrates how a counterfeit detector pen works. This $20 bill is legitimate, so the pen made a yellow mark. If the chemicals in the bill are not legitimate the pen would make a dark mark.
"Would he be a person of interest, yes," said Detective Cassidy Halseth of the Minot Police Department who is investigating the case. "But is he a counterfeiter? Probably not."
"I don't want to say it's prevalent," said Halseth of local counterfeiting, but it certainly seems to be on the rise. "Our office usually forwards counterfeit cases to the U.S. Secret Service," said Halseth who had not yet seen or handled the bill in question when interviewed Wednesday.
Halseth reminds people to be careful about the bills they receive.
"Most of them are very terrible, you'd be surprised. The ones I've seen are so easy" to spot, he said. The size, feel, color and "even how they wear, these (counterfeit bills), they wear like paper."
"And, of course, there are all the standard (security) features," like the cotton blend, silk strands, watermarks and security strips in legitimate currency, he said, "and if they're not there, people should be questioning it."