Lodi police have seized $140 worth of counterfeit money in the past week and they fear more could be in circulation around town.
In three separate incidents, two $20 bills and a $100 bill were identified as fake at local businesses.
All three bills share the same abnormal characteristics: They are slightly smaller and smoother than the real thing and they do not have the distinct blue and red fibers that can be seen on authentic bills.
Lodi Property Management spotted the first of the counterfeit currency April 18.
Conducting the normal procedure for cash payments, a secretary fanned through the money marking the bills with a highlighter that detects counterfeits, said Kathy Thompson, a secretary at Lodi Property Management.
The ink came out black on one of the $20 bills, an indication that the money is fake - on real bills the ink appears yellow. (Counterfeit money markers are sold over the counter at most office supply stores.)
Thompson contacted the police, who determined that the tenant who passed the bill did so unwittingly, said Officer Gary Fauth of the Lodi Police Department.
The other two incidents occurred April 19.
At 6:30 p.m., a customer paid a Big Lots! cashier with a fake $20 bill. Police were notified and the bill was taken for evidence.
And at 10:30 p.m. someone at the Beacon Gas Station, 35 N. Cherokee Lane, attempted to make a purchase with a counterfeit $100 bill. A cashier suspected the bill was fake and called the police.
None of the subjects who spent the bills is considered a suspect in the investigation, but each is out a few dollars, Fauth said, explaining that if you possess counterfeit cash, even unknowingly, the money will be seized without reimbursement.
An investigation is ongoing and Fauth urged business owners to be vigilant when collecting cash from customers.
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