Travelers cheques from a counterfeit ring recently hit two Thomson businesses, according to Officer Scott Whittle of the Thomson Police Department.
A man using the name Corey Grant passed fake American Express $100 Gift Cheques on Feb. 9 at Shoe Show on Harrison Road, according to police reports. The man used the bogus bills to buy two pairs of shoes.
Police reports show that he also tried to use the cheques at Wal-Mart on the same day. The cashier had the bill checked by the accounting department, and it was found to be a fake. When the cashier returned, the man was gone.
The two cheques that showed up in Thomson are part of a larger investigation that stretches up and down the eastern seaboard.
"After speaking with the American Express investigator, it was found out that the same serial number had been passed in Florida, Georgia and Philadelphia," Officer Whittle said. "They'll go into each town and try to get merchandise and cash back."
Right now the TPD wants to get the word out to local businesses in case the suspect attempts to pass any more phony cheques in the area.
"If a travelers cheque is presented to them, they need to examine the front and the back very carefully," Officer Whittle said. "It does have procedures to go through on the back to look at to make sure that it is a valid travelers cheque."
The counterfeit cheques did have a near-perfect watermark on the front side of the bill. The back of the bill tells cashiers to make sure that the holographic foil on the front projects the image of a centurion and the American Express logo. The hologram on the fakes did not.
Officer Whittle said other businesses may have been hit and not realized it yet. If businesses received the counterfeit cheques and did not recognize them, he said it may take a few days for the bank to weed out the cheques and notify them.
Although the Thomson Police department is investigating this incident, currently there are no suspects in custody. Video surveillance footage is being reviewed to help identify the suspect.