CROSSVILLE (WATE) - Crossville police say the city has a rampant problem with counterfeit money circulating in businesses and banks.
"The problem is, we're covered with it. We have about $5,000 worth of 10s and 20s that have been printed and put in circulation in the area," said Detective William Padget.
He's been tracking these bills for a month now. So far, at least 23 businesses and banks have been hit with the counterfeit bills.
But the recent World's Longest Yard Sale turned up an even greater amount of fake money.
"It's easier to pass at the yard sale," Padget explained, since it brought thousands of people to the area. "People aren't paying attention as they're making change."
But the majority of it is showing up at businesses. Gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants like Sonic have all had counterfeit money turn up in their registers.
"We mark all our money, so I was going through marking them and there was a 10 that was fake so we called the cops," said Misty Chestnut, a manager at Sonic.
Now businesses are paying extra attention. "We have all the car hops mark the bills with the customers outside to make sure they're real," Chestnut explained. She said they've found three fake bills.
At the BP gas station down the street, employees had three fake bills come in during one visit.
"Everybody's on alert to check, especially (checking) the 20s," said BP manager Jaye Brownstead.
But Detective Padget says they need to check every bill. "Even now, check your ones and fives as well as the 10s and 20s. The 50s are mostly washed bills so the markers don't work on them because they're real money that has been reprinted."
At BP, the employees are trained to check for signs without using the marker. They check the numbers to see if they change colors. Fake bills will stay gold. They also feel for ridges that are printed on the jacket of the person on the bill.
Padget says feeling the money is key. "If you take the bill itself, it's paper. It's just printer paper."
Crossville detectives say they have three suspects in mind, but no arrests have been made. They're confident arrests will be made soon.
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