My Short-Lived Life of Crime

When I was looking for pics to use for the Saturday Snapshot’s article, I came across an old newspaper article and had a good laugh so thought I would share it here.  I actually saw this article in the paper before I knew that it was me that they were looking for.

I came home from my part-time job one day and found a card attached to my door – it was from a police officer with a note to give him a call.  At first, I thought one of my friends was playing a joke – I was in college and jokes were a regular occurrence.  The card looked official so I thought I would go ahead and call the number.

The officer wanted to come over and talk to me but I was on my way to class so he made arrangements to meet me the next morning where I worked.  I asked him what it was about and he said that I had paid my phone bill with a counterfeit bill.  I remembered seeing the story in the paper so of course, dug it out after talking to him.

My phone bill was due over term break and I was going home so made arrangements to pay the bill when I got back.  I also got paid while I was away so my first stop was to pick up my paycheck.  I then went to the bank I used a few blocks from where I worked.  The bank was not open when I got there so had to wait to get in – I was the first customer in line that morning.  I then walked a block or two down the street to pay my phone bill.

The police officer verified that I had cashed my check right before paying my phone bill so I was not in any actual trouble.  Fortunately for me, the guy working at the phone company did not notice until after I walked out the door.  The phone company wanted their money back but the police officer said because he had accepted it and I had left, the phone company was stuck with the loss.  He said if the guy had noticed it before I walked out the door, I would have been the one stuck with the loss.

I asked how they knew it was counterfeit and the officer told me that the guy at the phone company noticed that it was shorter than the other bills. He also pulled some money out of his wallet and showed me some markings on a real bill that he said was impossible to replicate in counterfeit money.

I always thought it odd that I was the first person in the bank that morning and the money I was handed was at top of the teller drawer and had been counted the night before.  I have always wondered if the teller knew he had accepted it the day before and was worried he would get in trouble so wanted to get rid of it.  I think I would have an easier time accepting that it was an accident if I had been in the bank in the middle of the afternoon.

Note the “Bill Paid with Counterfeit Cash” story in the upper right corner of the paper.


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