Friday, September 10, 2004

Funny money passed in Ketchum stores

Forged $10 bill boosts detector pen sales

Express Staff Writer

Special pens for identifying counterfeit money flew off the shelves at Jane?s Paper Place in Ketchum and Hailey this week after word spread that counterfeit bills were entering the market in the Magic Valley.

Atkinsons? Markets head bookkeeper Pat McGraw decided even $10 bills needed to be checked, as a fake $10 bill turned up while she was doing the books Tuesday.

When a counterfeit $100 bills showed up at the grocery store some time ago, check stand employees began using the special pens to proof the bills, McGraw said.

When valid bills are marked with the special pens the ink mark is a gold color.

?If it?s counterfeit, (the ink mark) turns black from the minute you touch it,? McGraw said. ?Now we?re just having (check stand employees) mark everything from a ten up.?

Concern that bad bills might show up in other parts of the Wood River Valley caused businesses in Hailey to take action, too.

David Steinbock at Jane?s Paper Place in Hailey said the store had sold out of its stock of the special pens Wednesday, but he expected a new shipment Thursday.

?Atkinsons? bought a dozen,? Steinbock said.

So far, the Hailey grocery store has turned up no fakes.

The $10 forgery that turned up in Ketchum did not have the magnetic strip that is imbedded in a normal bill, McGraw said. The bill was also lacking the face that is visible in the bottom right corner of the bill when held up to a light source.

?There was a purple color to the ink,? she said.

Ketchum police are investigating the source of the forged bill.

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