Counterfeit bills passed at three Traverse City area businesses

    Counterfeit bills passed at two Traverse City businesses (Photo courtesy of Traverse City Police Department)

    GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- Police are warning businesses and customers to keep an eye out for counterfeit bills in the Traverse City area.

    According to the Traverse City Police Chief, two $100 bills were turned into the TBA Credit Union after being passed at a Schmuckal Oil gas station on Munson Avenue.

    The bills have Chinese writing on the front and back, and have odd markings in the corner.

    Officers say the Blossom Shop on Eighth Street in Traverse City also received a fake $100 bill from a customer.

    Jessica Wiresma was behind the counter when she sold a beautiful bouquet for 45 dollars.

    "He kind of planned out how much money he would spend so he could get the rest back in cash,” said Wiresma.

    It wasn’t until the young man left, that she realized he had given her a bogus bill.

    "It was really thin and then I saw the pink writing on it," said Wiresma. "That's when I got the owner and we got a real one out to compare them and we knew right away it was fake.”

    Now, police want to talk to a man seen in the surveillance footage.

    "That person is a person of interest," said Chief Jeff O'Brien. "We don’t know if the individual knowingly or willingly presented that fake bill, however we definitely would like to talk to them.”

    On Friday, an employee reported the fake cash had also been passed at Tom's East Bay.

    While police try and figure out who is passing this money, trained employees at 4Front Credit Union say you should use a counterfeit pen, and also check for the magnetic strip.

    “The strip that goes through is the best way to identify the bill," said George Tsoukalas, manager of operational control. "It will always say one, or five, or 20, so if you just lift it up and look at it you can tell what denomination it is."

    Chief O’Brien says he understands employees get busy, but wants these incidents to serve as a good reminder.

    “Be vigilant folks, make sure you check it because we feel that more of these are going to show up,” said Chief O'Brien.

    Right now, it's unclear if it's one person or multiple individuals passing the counterfeit cash.

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