As 17 News was reporting more local businesses are using high-tech scanning machines to catch counterfeit cash Wednesday evening, a convenience store manager in east Bakersfield claimed a man was trying to use a fake $100 bill. So, 17 News sent a crew to check it out.
The manager of the store, Samir Khalid, said he recognized the fake $100 bill Wednesday night, because he says the same man used a fake at the store Tuesday night and got away. But, not this time.
"I told him this is fake," said Khalid. "And, then he just said 'no, it's not fake.' And, then he just walked off. And, then when I see my other bill, I realized it was fake and it was the same guy."
The other bill is the fake Khalid kept after falling for it the first time. He said the second $100 the man tried to use even had the same serial number printed on it.
"You know the bill has strings on it. This one doesn't have a string on it. It just has a mark and you can feel it's fake," said Khalid.
Surveillance video shows Khalid on the phone with police reporting the bogus bill, and it also shows the man grabbing the money and leaving.
"We have seen an increase recently and it is primarily $100 bills," said Ray Pruitt, Kern County Sheriff's Office.
Pruitt says in December, a woman used a fake $100 bill at a boutique called Spoiled Rotten. Shop owners have since ordered a money scanning machine and deputies have since arrested the woman.
"But, that suspect was also passing $100 bills at garage sales," said Pruitt.
So, not only are crooks getting savvy at making money, Pruitt says they are targeting private sales and trolling Craigslist. They hope individual sellers won't know how to spot a fake or have surveillance video to spread the person's picture across the county.
Pruitt says they are still looking into this latest counterfeit claim. And, he adds if you think someone hands you a fake, try not to handle the money. Just call police with a description of the person and a vehicle.