OWASSO, Okla. - Owasso Police are warning area businesses to beware of counterfeit cash. They say fake bills have shown up at eight Owasso businesses in the last few weeks.
One person is now in custody. Nicholas Sanders, 19, was booked in to the Tulsa County Jail late Monday night.
Police say he was busted trying to use a fake $50 bill at a gas station.
"The clerk at this particular store noticed that the money did not feel correct," said Owasso Police Sgt. Nick Boatman, "and when she determined that the money wasn't genuine, called police."
When Owasso police arrived at the Murphy USA station on 96th Street North on Monday night, Sanders was still there.
He was arrested for public intoxication, drug possession and possession of counterfeit money with intent to circulate.
Both Owasso police and the Secret Service want to know the extent of Sanders' involvement in a string of similar incidents in which fake money has been passed at least seven other Owasso businesses.
Boatman tells 2NEWS, "Right now they are still investigating how he maybe connected with it, or with the person making the money. But for right now, we know that he did attempt to pass the $50 bill."
All of the businesses are located in Owasso's retail corridor between 76th Street North and 96th Street North.
Police suspect the crooks are targeting busy restaurants and stores, slipping the fake cash in with real money.
"Whenever a clerk is busy with other customers or they have long line of people they are going to be dealing with shortly, of course they are not going to take the time to look at each individual bill," Boatman said. "So that just keeps with the fact that the person passing the bill knows that they are going to take it quickly and won't notice."
But as soon as word got out about the funny money, merchants started paying attention. Police think that is why they now have one suspect in custody.
Boatman offers this advise to area businesses: pay close attention to all the cash that comes in. If it does not look or feel right, you can choose not to accept it or you can call the police right away.
He says most of the counterfeit money was used at fast food restaurants and convenience stores including these locations:
- Wal-Mart Supercenter
- El Tequila
- Muphy's USA
The U.S. Secret Service says there are areas on bills to look at to determine if one is real or not.
They say to look for differences, not similarities, in the portrait, border, federal reserve and treasury seals, serial numbers and paper.