When Yelm police recently took a suspected counterfeit $100 bill to a local bank for examination, the manager was struck by its apparent authenticity.
“That’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil recalls the employee saying. “It’s impressive the clerk caught that.”
The bill in question was involved in what is being considered a robbery at the Yelm Park Place Shell Sunday, June 2. In that case, the clerk refused to return the bill to an unidentified man after recognizing it as a counterfeit. A struggle ensued when the man fought to retrieve the bill. He ended up stealing the clerk’s cellphone and driving away.
Stancil used the incident, along with a handful of additional counterfeit cases in recent months, as an example while speaking to the business community at a Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, June 11. He allowed attendees to handle counterfeit money seized as part of investigations.
He said the crimes come in waves, with the denominations of the bills often changing. Right now, he said, $100 counterfeit bills appear to be the most common.
While it can often be difficult to spot a counterfeit with the naked eye, the feel of the paper is often a giveaway, Stancil said.
His recommendation to the business community is to err on the side of caution.
“Really, the advice is just to call us,” he said. “Let us come down.”
If the suspect leaves, it’s likely the person was aware the money is counterfeit.
If they stay, more often than not the person was unaware they had been handling counterfeit money, Stancil said.
He suggested businesses talk with staff and train them how to not only spot the counterfeits, but interact with the person attempting to use them.
“It takes a bit of finesse and communication skills,” he said.