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Police seek women using fake money

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Police are on the lookout for two women who passed counterfeit money at three businesses in the Rocklin area. The first incident occurred just before 8 p.m. Sept. 3 at the It’s a Grind coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard. According to the police report, the clerk accepted a $5 bill altered to look like a $100 bill. Rocklin Police Lt. Lon Milka said the bill was altered using a technique called washing, where the bill is exposed to chemicals to erase the ink and another denomination is printed over top. “Once the bill has been washed, it feels differently, a funny feel to it,” Milka said. That’s when the clerk allowed the female suspect to leave with about $12 in property and $87 in change. The business is now out the money, according to Milka. The clerk told police the woman was in her mid-20s with a medium build reportedly calling herself Misty. Milka said store clerks need to stay vigilant. “Go with your first intuition if you think the bill is bad, it probably is bad,” Milka said. “Say something like, ‘it feels a little strange.’ A normal law-abiding citizen will want to get involved. The suspect will try to avert attention.” Milka said call a police officer to investigate. “If the suspect can’t wait for police, get a description and a license plate number as they drive away.” Milka said. “If you don’t know the bill is fake when you are passing it, then you are not criminally liable.” The next two incidents happened with the same type of altered money but with another suspect. “Whether they are working directly, is hard to say,” Milka said. “But they could be working for someone overseeing the operation.” The next two incidents occurred Sept. 5 by a woman, witnesses describe, as in her 50’s. The suspect allegedly used the altered $5 bill at Metro PCS on Sunset Boulevard in a way that could help the investigation. “She had her cell phone fixed,” Milka said. “They probably have her information on file.” The suspect may have used another washed bill to buy cigarettes at the Safeway on Sunset Boulevard just an hour later. Police said clerks should be especially mindful of any denomination over $20. “Usually it is going to be a large denomination,” Milka said. “So they can get as much real money as they can.” Investigators are getting help from the U.S. Secret Service. “The Secret Service has a database that keeps the serial numbers and the method of counterfeiting,” Milka said. A fourth incident occurred Aug. 12 at a Chevron on Sierra College Boulevard but investigators said so far, it is not connected to the other crimes. Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call the Rocklin Police Department at 625-5400. Jon Brines can be reached at jonathanbrines@yahoo.com.