Fake $20 bills spent at weekend garage sales, police searching for suspects

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Tyler Police need your help finding suspects they say are passing around counterfeit bills at garage sales. Denise Acosta says she and neighbors received bogus bills during a joint garage sale.

"I am just perturbed beyond belief because we all busted it to get our stuff out there and really have a good sale and then for somebody to take a cheap shot like this," said Acosta.

The suspects' scheme? Buying cheap and getting real cash back.

"[They are] giving you the bogus $20, getting $19.50 back after buying a $.50 item, and walking off with the real cash," said Acosta.

Ways to tell it's fake:
1. When you add water, the ink smears and the paper disintegrates.
2. Compared to real money it's thinner and a different texture.
3. Hold the money up to a light and look for the watermark of the president's face on any bill.
4. Also, one end should have another watermark of the currency's amount written out.
5. Tyler Police warn not to rely on counterfeit-detection markers because they are not fool-proof.

"I've been told that the more these are handled and the chemicals off our fingers and everything, they can distort what it actually will show up," explained Officer Don Martin with the Tyler Police Department.

In fact, Officer Martin says a marker did not detect these fakes. So look for those watermarks and feel the texture closely because suspects are making easy, quick cash off counterfeits.

"They made just under $80 on myself and the four neighbors that were in a row here," said Acosta.

Tyler Police say this crime is a third degree felony carrying up to a 10 year sentence.

They have released some descriptions of three suspects they are looking for. Two white females, one who is pregnant and one white male with a spider web tattoo on his left elbow.

If know who these suspects may be police are urging you to call them or get a license plate number if you see them.

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