Public warned about fake $20s
THIS IS THE MAN Sonoma Police suspect has passed bogus $20 bills in two stores in Sonoma.
Photo courtesy Sonoma Police Department
When is a $20 bill not a $20 bill? When it’s printed on funny paper that doesn’t quite feel right to the touch.
A clerk at the Sonoma Rite Aid store had that impression at around 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 when a Hispanic man in his mid-20s to mid-30s came into the store and bought gift cards with five $20 bills. The bills didn’t feel quite right, but the clerk wasn’t positive they weren’t real and didn’t want to cause a fuss.
As soon as the man left, the clerk contacted her manager, who quickly determined the bills were bogus and called police.
Three days later, on Nov. 22, the manager of the CVS store on West Napa Street was going through the cash receipts and noticed two suspicious $20 bills that “felt unusually smooth.” The manager was able to identify the cash register from which the bills came and reviewed surveillance video of that site. There he saw footage showing a Hispanic man in his mid-20s walk into the store with two women.
The man subsequently came to the check-our counter with $35.20 worth of merchandise, including a variety of candies, that he paid for with the two counterfeit bills. Both bills had identical serial numbers that also corresponded to the serial number on all five of the bad bills passed at Rite Aid.
Sonoma police urged the public – especially business sales personnel, to be vigilant for similar counterfeit bills, and to call police immediately if anyone tries to pass one.
In other incidents reported by local law enforcement:
Saturday, Nov. 17:
2:25 p.m. – Crime of opportunity. A woman parked her Chevy work van in the city parking lot off First Street East and went into a nearby store, leaving her wallet in the van. When she returned, the wallet was missing along with her debit card, driver’s license and $12 in cash.
Sunday, Nov. 18:
12:32 a.m. – Not like the old days. Sonoma police spotted a white Ford F150 pickup driving erratically away from the Plaza. When the arresting officer pulled the truck over at Fifth Street West, he noticed the driver exhibited signs of intoxication and asked if the man had been drinking.
The driver admitted to consuming two pints of Sierra Nevada beer and two shots of an unspecified whiskey. He also suggested that the police officer could cut him a little slack and just let him go. Then the equally-inebriated passenger asked the officer for a ride home.
The driver took umbrage at his impending arrest, telling the officer, “This isn’t how we did things in the old days.” As the roadside interview progressed, the driver revised his alcohol consumption to four Sierra Nevadas and four shots of whiskey. He refused a field breath test to determine his blood alcohol content, chose instead a blood test. The 58-year-old passenger, from Sonoma, was charged with public intoxication and violation of probation, while the 62-year-old driver, from Citrus Heights, was charged with DUI. Both men were subsequently booked into the county jail.
Monday, Nov. 19:
11:08 a.m. – Black eye prompts complaint. A 24-year-old Lake Tahoe woman who woke up with a black eye after being punched by a rival the night before in a Sonoma tavern, came to the police station to file a battery charge against her assailant.
The dispute involved an ex-boyfriend and perhaps other ageless assaults to the ego and the formal complaint was apparently precipitated by the physical evidence of the other woman’s fist.
Tuesday, Nov. 20:
12:38 a.m. – Resistance and an F-bomb. A 16-year-old Sonoma boy who reportedly got drunk and snuck out of his parents home, was collared by police officers who followed a trail of overturned garbage cans the youth had toppled on his way home from an apparently clandestine meeting with his girlfriend.
When police stopped the belligerent boy he refused to sit on the patrol car bumper as ordered and tried to walk away from police, who ultimately took him to the ground by force and put him in handcuffs.
“I was just walking home and knocked over a few garbage cans. Who cares?” he reportedly told police.
The boy was turned over to his father after being charged with resisting arrest. As his father escorted him back into the house, an officer heard the boy shout, “F*** the police.”
Wednesday, Nov. 21:
8:57 a.m. – Just a few edibles. Police spotted a 17-year-old riding his bicycle with no helmet on Riverside Drive. When an officer approached the youth he smelled the distinct odor of marijuana. Asked if the boy had any “weed” the boy replied that he had “some edibles.” He produced three Rice Crispy treats baked with marijuana, three marijuana brownies and one marijuana cookie. The Sonoma resident was cited for an infraction.