St. Peters police seeing increase in counterfeit money

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ST. PETERS, MO (KTVI)-- St. Peters police issue a warning after counterfeit money makes its way into local businesses.

At Franchesco`s Family Italian restaurant in St. Peters, owner Greg Gawronski has been making his signature pizza and pastas for more than 15 years. He has also seen his share of cash and some of it has been fake.

"I`ve actually gotten money from a different establishment had gone to a local Culver`s they marked the bill and said it was counterfeit and I had no idea," said Gawronski.

The St. Peters Police Department says they have had at least five incidents of funny money in the last 2 months. Some of it passed through people who unknowingly got it from sales on Craigslist. Officer Melissa Doss says counterfeit cash cases are up.

"The victims had actually been using or tried to use the money at a business and the business noticed that it was fake money called police and we tracked it back to a Craigslist transaction."

One man was caught on camera using fake $20 bills at a St. Peters Barnes and Noble.  Gawronski says small cash losses can have a big impact on business at the end of the day. He also says once the money is deposited and found to be counterfeit, it`s a total loss.
"$20 bill it`s a big deal for a small business such as myself it`s a large percentage of your money it can be 5 percent of your sales for the day," said Gawronski

Police say if you need to make cash transactions, it`s a good idea to do it on police premises to reduce your chances of becoming a victim. It`s also best to take a good look at any cash you take in.
"Hold it up to the light to find the security strip on the side that`s an indicator there are also different holograms. People also need to be aware that people are using real money $5 bills washing the money and printing $100 on top of it," Doss said.

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