Contributed Photo/Courtesy SPD
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – If a person finds loose cash in a public place, morality dictates the proper thing to do would be to turn it into the police, and if nobody claims it within the required time period the cash goes to the person who found it. That method also ensures that the money found is not counterfeit.
However, two youths were given different advice by a parent after finding a counterfeit $100 bill at the Graham County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
According to a Safford Police report, the juveniles attempted to use the bill at the Giant gas station at 750 S. 8th Ave. The store clerk realized the bill, which had Chinese writing on the back, appeared to be counterfeit and called the police.
The officer confiscated the bill and escorted the juveniles out of the store. At that time, the youths advised they had found the bill near the duck ponds at the Graham County Fairgrounds and were not sure if it was real or counterfeit.
The officer reported he educated the juveniles on the proper procedure for such a situation and how to avoid possibly being charged with a crime if they come across a similar situation in the future.
The officer then contacted the father of one of the boys, who said he knew they had found the money and told them to take it to the store to “see if it was stolen”, according to the police report.
However, unless the cash was stolen from a bank, it is extremely unlikely that anyone would have the serial numbers written down and even more improbable that a store would somehow have that kind of information regarding loose cash found at the duck ponds.
The officer then informed the father of the potential legal risk of such an action. Depending on the situation, such an action could result in charges including forgery or fraudulent schemes, both of which are felonies.
After informing the juveniles and the adult of the legalities and proper procedure, the youths were released back to their residence and the counterfeit bill was placed into evidence at the Safford Police Department to be destroyed at a later date.