HUDSON — Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in at least one incident of someone passing or attempting to pass counterfeit money at businesses since late May.
"We’ve got a guy on video in one of the incidents and we’re trying to ID him now," Police Chief Perry Tabak said Wednesday.
According to a police report, in that June 12 incident at the Atterbury Boulevard Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, a man caught on security video was reported to have passed a counterfeit $100 bill while making a purchase. The police department posted images from the video on the city’s Facebook page on July 12.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hudson Police Detective Brian Kozel at 330-342-1871 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tabak said there have been two other incidents, though it is uncertain if they are related. According to reports, a counterfeit $100 bill was passed at Amaize Gourmet Popcorn Shoppe on North Main Street on June 21 and someone made an unsuccessful attempt at passing six counterfeit $20 bills at the Darrow Road CVS store on May 30.
Tabak said the city is working with the Secret Service on the investigation.
"I can tell you there have been other incidents in other communities in Summit County as well," he said. "At this point, I can’t say for sure that they’re linked."
Jon Schuck, special agent in charge in the Secret Service’s Cleveland field office, said Wednesday that there are potential suspects in Hudson, but it is too early in the investigation to determine if the Hudson incidents are related to each other or to any other incidents in the county.
"But we definitely have a criminal investigation on what’s going on there," he said.
Schuck said he is not aware of any increase of counterfeiting incidents in the county right now, but incidents can rise and fall over time.
"It goes through trends and periods, kind of fluctuates," he said.
Schuck said one area can get hit a few times and then the counterfeiters may move somewhere else and that trend changes can also include denominations of bills passed. It used to be, he said, that bills were typically $20 and even $10 because counterfeiters were reasoning that businesses are less likely to examine them closely so they are easier to pass. Of late, though, bills as high as $100 have been popping up because they can be more lucrative.
"A hundred dollars, obviously, that’s more value if you can pass it. I’d say it goes back and forth," he said.
Tabak said that in addition to investigating the incidents, the police department is also trying to provide information to local businesses, educating them in how to identify counterfeit bills so that "they’re not easy targets."
"We’ve not only reached out to the community to ID the suspect, but we are also working with our local businesses," he said.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, email@example.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.