Middlebury police probing phony $100 bills

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury police believe they have pinpointed the source of some phony $100 bills passed at three local businesses on Feb. 10.
Middlebury Police Sgt. Mike Christopher said the bills in question are of the same size and coloring of a real $100 banknote, but are clearly marked as being non-negotiable. The words “For motion picture use only,” in capital letters, appear to the right of the depiction of Benjamin Franklin, as well as across the top of the back of the note.
Christopher added the ink featured in the fake banknotes appears darker than those used in a real $100 bill. He added the paper stock seems a little stiffer than normal currency.
Unfortunately, the culprit was able to pass at least three notes at Middlebury businesses, perhaps taking advantage of a busy checkout clerk, according to authorities. Police records show Middlebury Discount Beverage, Champlain Farms and the Subway Restaurant each took in one of the bills.
Middlebury police believe there could be an additional one or two bills circulating around the community. Anyone who spots such a bill should contact police at 388-3191.
Police are warning merchants and citizens to carefully inspect banknotes — particularly those of high denominations — prior to accepting them. Christopher noted there are pens that merchants can use to tell the difference between a real and fake bill; the pens use iodine-based ink that doesn’t react to cotton-based currency paper but does show up on photocopier-type paper. Real banknotes also have watermarks and an embedded, vertical thread passing through the bill.
The U.S. Secret Service has recently reported the passing of counterfeit bills in Chittenden County, according to Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley.
“We believe the people passing the bills are probably from the area,” he said.
Hanley is urging merchants to check out www.uscurrency.gov for currency security tips.

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