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More phony Franklins passed at North Bend businesses

Five North Bend businesses have been the targets of counterfeiters passing fake $100 bills in the last week.

North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner is warning cash-based businesses to pay close attention to any large-denomination bills they receive.

So far, six fake Franklins were discovered on Tuesday and Thursday, June 7 and 9. North Bend’s Ace Hardware was the first store to report the counterfeits, and so far is the only business to have received two fake bills.

Ace store manager Chris, who declined to give his last name, said the transactions were made five minutes apart on Tuesday afternoon. “Apparently, they were pretty good counterfeits,” he said. The store has policies in place for accepting large bills, but the cashier accepted the bills after some debate. “They just didn’t quite look right,” Chris said, but it wasn’t until the bills were deposited at Sterling Savings Bank that the mistake was caught.

From the security camera tapes at Ace, police gathered a physical description of the two men involved. Both were between 30 and 40 years old, and one had a child with him, about 1 or 2 years old. One, possibly both of the men appeared to have a Hispanic background, according to Toner, who reviewed the tape. He plans to post the Ace video online in hopes that someone can identify the men.

“I’m hoping for a couple of videos,” he added, from cameras at the other victimized businesses.

They have no specific suspects yet, but are gathering evidence to be forwarded on to the U.S. Secret Service if the counterfeiters are caught. This branch of the FBI specifically prosecutes counterfeit cases, although it relies on local law enforcement investigations initially.

To report a counterfeit bill, call North Bend police (425) 888-4433, or Snoqualmie Police at (425) 888-3333. For help identifying bills, visit www.newmoney.gov.

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