Rash of counterfeit currency prompts investigation in Nashua
NASHUA, Jan 16, 2013 (The Telegraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Nashua police are working with other agencies in the area as well as the U.S. Secret Service to investigate a spike in counterfeit bills passed at local businesses.
Nashua Police Lt. Michael Moushegian confirmed that detectives were investigating the phony money but wouldn't comment on specifics, including how many reports police have fielded recently.
"There has been an increase in reports of counterfeit money being passed in Nashua," Moushegian said.
The counterfeit currency has included $20 bills, he said.
"As far as other denominations, I don't want to comment at this point," Moushegian said, adding that he didn't want to reveal too much information because the investigation is ongoing.
He also declined to comment on the number of reports, only that they've increased in the past two months.
Vincent Wu, co-owner of You You Japanese Bistro on Broad Street, said only vigilance by his staff spotted fake bills earlier this month and led to a man's arrest.
In early January, a man came into the restaurant and asked to exchange five $20 bills for a $100 bill. The odd request raised an employee's suspicions, Wu said.
He had seen a story in The Telegraph a week earlier about someone arrested for passing counterfeit $20s in Portsmouth. He alerted his staff to be on the lookout for bogus bills. The five bills presented at You You were immediately recognized as fake, Wu said.
"They were not good quality," he said, adding that two or three even had the same serial number.
Police were called, and the suspect arrested.
However, if a restaurant's staff isn't on alert and if the suspect comes in when the restaurant is particularly busy, it's possible even bad quality fake bills wouldn't be noticed, Wu said.
It appears You You isn't the only local restaurant where counterfeit bills have been presented recently.
Elsewhere, some police departments have seen an increase in counterfeit bills, while others haven't.
In Manchester, a man on Dec. 20 passed counterfeit $20s at two Dunkin' Donuts restaurants. Manchester police didn't return a reporter's phone call Tuesday seeking additional information.
Merrimack police aren't involved in any active investigation concerning counterfeit currency, Lt. Denise Roy said.
"Anything we had (concerning counterfeiting) was from about nine months or a year ago," Roy said.
In one Nashua case, police arrested a Nashua man Jan. 1 after he allegedly used counterfeit money to purchase items at a local business.
Robert Delgado, 53, of 381a"2 Canal St., second floor, was taken into custody, police said, after officers identified him as the suspect the business owner described making the transaction. Delgado was charged with one count of forgery, a Class B felony, as well as one count of misdemeanor forgery, after he was found to be in possession of additional counterfeit money, police said.
It's unclear whether Delgado's arrest was an isolated incident or related to a broader investigation.
Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Meighan on Twitter @ Telegraph_PatM.
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