The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN police investigate counterfeit bills

In the past three weeks, CSUN police have investigated numerous reports of counterfeit $20 bills showing up at on and off-campus restaurants near CSUN.

All of the incidents involved counterfeit versions of the multi-colored bills that were released into circulation in October 2003. In all but one case, the counterfeit notes were $20 bills. All bills found to be counterfeit have been confiscated.

A CSUN police spokesperson declined to comment further, commenting that the case is still under investigation.

Ric Brown, manager of the Burger King restaurant in the Matador Bookstore Complex, said he was the first to be informed that the counterfeit money had been used at the restaurant.

“The counterfeit money was brought to my attention … by (University) Cash Services,” Brown said. “We turn our money (over) to them at the end of each day. After counting the money, they discovered eight $20 counterfeit bills, which were used to purchase food in (the) restaurant.”

“I was shocked when I heard the information,” he said.

Burger King was not the only campus business affected by the counterfeit activity, as Sierra Center employees are also dealing with the recent surge in counterfeit activity.

Marlene Cabrera, who works at a register in the Sierra Center, said she clearly remembers the scene that took place when a young man proceeded to purchase his food using an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. Cabrera said the register clerk reported the incident to management, and then called campus police.

“In no time, the police arrived,” Cabrera said.

“The counterfeit money activity was brought to all of the employees’ attention,” she said. “We knew it was going on, and we were asked to pay special attention to the money we were receiving. We were told to report any suspicious money to management.”

Cabrera said onlookers who witnessed the incident recalled hearing the man tell officers he was not a CSUN student.

Campus businesses have begun to take measures to protect themselves against counterfeit bill activity. The Sierra Center and Burger King, both operated by the University Corporation, are no longer accepting $100 bills from customers.

Dottie Emick, a cashier at The Edge convenient store located in the Matador Bookstore Complex, said her store has also been taking precautions.

“We have always been careful and take action to make sure counterfeit money isn’t used in our stores,” Emick said. “We never accepted $100 bills, long before the counterfeit scare, and we have always marked $50 and $100 bills with the counterfeit marker.”

Emick said she thinks The Edge was not hit in the recent surge of counterfeit bills because customers observe that employees there use caution with large bills and inspect what they are handed.

CSUN police issued a crime bulletin advising community members not to return counterfeit bills to the passer. If a business is given counterfeit money, the employee should accept it and try his or her best to “delay the passer.” Campus police also suggest that individuals try to observe the passers’ identity and write down a description of the individual without physically handling the counterfeit bill.

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