Pueblo Police have released surveillance footage from a Family Dollar Store where a suspect passed a fake $100 bill on Saturday. A second bill was also passed that same day at an area convenience store, but the surveillance camera didn't catch the suspect.
In all, more than a dozen counterfeit bills have been passed in Pueblo this summer, police say.
A police investigator tells KKTV 11 News that at least five fake $100s and five fake $50s were passed this summer. Additionally, various other denominations of counterfeit bills are also under investigation.
The two fake Benjamin Franklins spent on Saturday were at the Family Dollar Store, located at 2639 N. Elizabeth St., and a Western Convenience Store, located at 3201 Lake Ave.
"It's not right,” Bryana Mullen, who works at the convenience store, said. “It's not fair either."
Investigators say they’ve been unable to tie the fake bills to any suspects, and it is unclear if they’re coming from Pueblo or elsewhere. Numerous methods of counterfeiting have been used.
The bill passed at the Family Dollar Store, for example, was a $5 that had been altered to look like a $100. The suspect who paid using the fake bill was described as a Hispanic woman, wearing dark shorts and a black shirt. She purchased a package of women’s socks and got $93 back in change, according to the police report.
The fake $100 passed at the Western Convenience Store was brought in by a man who bought gas.
According to the police report, both fake bills was brown in color, have white around the edges, were not centered on the paper and contained a watermark of President Lincoln instead of Benjamin Franklin. Both bills also had the same serial number, and police say they were likely printed with a copy machine or a computer printer.
Police are asking merchants to look at bills of all sizes to confirm their authenticity before accepting the cash.
11 News asked business owners to take a look at a picture of the counterfeit $100 bill. One woman told us that it looked pretty real to her, and she'll make sure she checks cash that comes into her store.
"We have the marker," Debbie Snider, who works at Campbell's Flowers, said. "We just try really hard to make sure we don't get caught with one of those."
Banks are also asked to double-check before distributing or accepting the bills. Anyone who discovers counterfeit bills should call police.