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Businesses advised to be on alert for counterfeit bills after theft ring discovered in Macon, Eastman

Bibb County Sheriff Jerry Modena is advising local businesses to be alert for customers attempting to make purchases or obtain services using counterfeit money.

Investigators have become aware of a theft ring operating in the Macon area and in Eastman, Modena announced this afternoon at a news conference at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Complex.

Authorities have recovered $1,000 in counterfeit $50 bills used Dec. 1 by a man and a woman to purchase a designer handbag from the Coach store at the Shoppes at River Crossing in north Bibb County, Lt. Paul Edwards said.

A clerk completed the purchase, unsuspecting of the imitation cash, and proceeded to store the bills in the business' safe when her manager detectedthe money was not real, Edwards said.

He said the sheriff's office is investigating a similar purchase by the couple on Nov. 26 at a Wal-Mart in Eastman. Surveillance camera footage of the incident was obtained today.

Authorities advise business owners and employees to examine bills closely, paying attention to color, texture, imperfections in printing, and whethera watermark and hologram are present.

Multiple bills with the same serial number are another indication of counterfeit money. Each of the bills used in the thefts had the serial number AB 21430598 A, authorities said.

To learn more, visit www.ustreas.gov/usss/know_your_money.shtml. Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Bibb CountySheriff's Office at (478) 746-9441 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.

For more on this story, check macon.com and read Thursday's Telegraph.

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