PIQUA — The Piqua Police Department released a crime alert on Friday, warning businesses of possible counterfeit $100 bills in circulation.
“Besides an unrelated case last weekend, we have now determined that fake $100 bills were passed in Piqua yesterday during at least three different transactions – twice downtown and once at the mall,” a statement from the Piqua Police Department reads. “We suspect that other businesses have already been victimized, and are concerned that these bills may continue to be passed locally.”
An arrest Thursday evening first prompted the concerns after a 18-year-old was reportedly caught using one at Z’s Food and Spirits at 5 p.m.
“They called while he was still there,” Chief of Police Bruce Jamison of the Piqua Police Department said. The promptness of the business allowed the police department to arrest the suspect.
The police department arrested Devon Anthony Montgomery, 18, of Piqua, for first-degree misdemeanor theft and first-degree misdemeanor underage consumption in connection with that incident. Montgomery was taken to the Miami County Jail Thursday night and released Friday morning.
The police department then got another complaint about counterfeit money Friday morning. The second complaint was from Charley’s Philly Steaks at the Miami Valley Centre Mall at 11 a.m. Friday.
“We got one more report, so we don’t know how much is out there,” Jamison said.
The fake bills from these incidents feature the words “for motion picture use only” and “for cinematic use only” on various places on the bill, such as next to Benjamin Franklin’s head and on the reverse side as well.
“If you don’t look past the $100 or Benjamin Franklin’s face, you would miss it,” Jamison said.
The police department is urging businesses to use caution and to scrutinize $100 bills that they accept.
“Retail employees should always follow safe practices when accepting currency,” the police department said. “We are sharing this intelligence with all retailers in Piqua so that they can pay particular attention to all $100 bills and look for the markings described.”
The public is asked to notify police immediately by calling 9-1-1 if anyone presents one of these bills as payment. Anyone who has already received one of these bills can call the county’s non-emergency number at 937-440-9911, and an officer will respond to investigate further.
Montgomery is currently in custody again and is expected to be facing additional felony charges after Friday.
“We don’t know if he’s the only one that’s been passing these,” Jamison said. “Keep an eye on anything you accept.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336