CORONADO (NEWS 8) – Businesses in Coronado are on the lookout for a man who has been using counterfeit money.
According to police, the suspect passed fake $100 bills at several stores and received real change in return.
One of the shops the suspect used the fake bills at was Little Sam’s.
It was not until the owners received a call from the bank or used a counterfeit pen that they realized they had been duped.
Now, the Coronado Police and the Secret Service are working together to capture the suspect.
Besides Little Sam’s, Treasures from the Heart, Coronado’s Tourist Hub, a shop inside The Hotel Del Coronado, Emerald C Gallery and Bay Books have all been hit by a counterfeit bill scammer.
Laura Linehan works at Little Sam’s.
“I held it [the $100 bill] up to the light and instead of seeing the watermark of the face, it was a blob,” she said.
She did not take the $100 bill, but her co-worker did last Sunday night – five minutes before closing.
“He grabbed four towels. When he realized they were not going to check [the $100 bill and it is going through he said, ‘oh never mind, I just one of these towels,’” said Laura.
According to police, the suspect buys small amount of items for a big cash back. “The purpose of the scam is turning in the fraudulent money in exchange for legitimate money. He seems to be very comfortable doing it. The transaction does not seem out of the ordinary to the retailers.”
The suspect bought baby girl pajamas for $18.99 at Treasures from the Heart and was given $81.01 in change.
He returned later and passed another fake $100 bill.
From Saturday to Sunday, the suspect was able to pass $600 in fake bills in Coronado.
Laura said her boss does not want it to happen again. “[He] slapped it in front of me and said ‘what is wrong with it?’”
The fake Benjamins are described to have same serial number and have a waxy texture.
Detectives recommended retailers to buy a counterfeit pen at any counterfeit supply store. If the pen marking is clear, then it passes, but if it turns dark, the bill could be a fake.
Coronado merchants are on alert and Laura said her boss is “testing everyone down the way and was taking it.”
An ultraviolet light can also help detect fake money bills.
Police released a generic description of the suspect. He is described as a white, light skinned Hispanic male in his mid-20 or 30’s.
Detectives have not released his picture that may have been captured on surveillance cameras.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.