Kokomo police searching for suspects using counterfeit money

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KOKOMO, Ind. (Sept. 4, 2015) - Police in Kokomo are searching for a man and woman accused of using fake cash to scam local businesses.

Eight businesses in Kokomo were hit this week. Most of them are off State Road 931. Police said it was easy access for the suspects. The businesses targeted include; Subway, Books-A-Million, Buffalo Wild Wings, Old Navy, Pet Supplies Plus, and MC Sports. The man and women were caught on surveillance video after they handed the cashier a fake $100 bill.

Kokomo Police said the bills don't look fake at first and a counterfeit marker would have shown the bills were real. Police said they contacted the secret service who told them they are investigating reports of counterfeit cash all over Indiana.

"$1 bills that have been bleached out and then they're printing the $100 bills on top of the paper, so it's actually money paper," explained Kokomo Police Detective Michael Banush. He said the suspects make the cash look as real as possible.

The fake bills all have the same serial number. They are also dated 1985. Police said the suspects would buy items for a small amount and get real cash as change. In one day, the suspects may have gotten away with more than $500.

"We're trying to pass these pictures out so people will identify these two individuals, but just to be aware, if someone buys something small with a large bill, I would immediately take notice of that," said Detective Banush.

Pet Supplies Plus was also hit this week. Owner Molly McKellar said the suspect purchased a $10 dog toy and received $90 of real cash in change. McKellar said the fake cash wasn't noticed until she was turning in the bank deposit slip a few days later.

"When I opened that envelope, I knew right away. I did check it with a counterfeit pen and it came back that it was normal, that it wasn't suspicious," said McKellar.

She said many of the customers are regulars. That's why they didn't think to question the honesty of a person shopping in the store. Kokomo Police said they don't think the suspects are local.

"That's the most frustrating thing, it's violation that somebody came in here and put us in that position," she added.

Katrina, the Pet Supplies Plus bulldog, is offering a $100 store gift card to anyone who had information about the suspects.

Kokomo Police said they're looking for other possible victims. Many stores may not notice the fake bills until they deposit the cash to the bank.

Detective Banush said to keep an eye out for anyone using a $100 bill for small items. He said to check it thoroughly and if it doesn't feel legit, ask the customer for another form of payment. You can also refuse to accept the money and call police right away.

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