Eight counterfeit $20 bills were used at Sally’s Saloon and Eatery Thursday morning, according to a Minneapolis police report.
The Minneapolis Police Department passed the case on to the Secret Service, which handles counterfeit currency cases in the United States. Timothy Kozak, the assistant special agent-in-charge of the Secret Service's Minneapolis field office, declined to comment, but said the case is under investigation.
Sally’s general manager Don Bye said employees detected the bills were fake by using a special marker that turns black on counterfeit money.
University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said employees caught up with two suspects outside of Hong Kong Noodle down the street. But police could find no counterfeit money on the individuals when they arrived.
Bye said they’ve had several instances of attempted counterfeit use in the past. He added that people who use fake bills usually target busy businesses.
“If you’re busy as a bartender, or if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to accept the bill and make change,” Bye said.
By using a fake $20 bill for one drink, Bye said they could get about $15 of that back in real money.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Steve McCarty said there needs to be some evidence of intent to enforce a penalty for counterfeiting, which is not always easy.
“The standard argument would be, ‘Well I didn’t know it was counterfeit,’” McCarty said.
Knowingly attempting to use counterfeit money is punishable with a fine, up to 15 years in jail or both, according to the Secret Service website.
A 2010 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago estimates that one or fewer of 10,000 U.S. bills throughout the world is a fake.
Art stolen from festival
Three pieces of art were stolen during the Stone Arch Art Festival over the weekend.
According to a University police report, the paintings were left in a zip-up tent overnight Saturday and were missing the next morning. The artist, Kendra Baird, said the paintings were worth about $2,250 altogether.
Baird, a resident of Charlotte, N.C. said she has been travelling to art shows throughout the East Coast. It was her first time attending the Stone Arch Festival.
She noticed that other artists adjacent to her tent brought their paintings with them overnight, but she was comfortable enough with the security presence to leave her 40 paintings in the tent.
Sara Collins, a spokeswoman for the festival, said some Minneapolis Park Police were on-hand overnight. She added that many artists choose to leave their paintings in tents.
Baird isn’t holding out hope that her paintings can be recovered.
“I’m assuming whoever stole them is putting them up in their house,” she said. “So unless the entire city of Minneapolis is out looking for them, I really doubt anyone’s going to stumble across them.”
One painting depicts blue birds sitting on a branch hanging over a building, another is of a group of trees around a green border and the third painting was of a Thai man begging with his arms outstretched and wearing army fatigue shorts.
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